I’ve been using Colorful Semantics quite a bit in therapy and want to share it with people who haven’t used it or don’t know about it. This program was devised by a Speech and Language Therapist from the UK, and it is free. There has also been some research done on its efficacy (Search Google Scholar “Colorful Semantics”). One of them by Susan Ebbels is available here.
What it is:
A program that color codes different parts of speech in a sentence (The Noun/Subject – Who; The Verb – What is doing; The Object – What; The prepositional phrase – Where, etc.). In doing so, children are taught to create sentences first by sorting out colors. By doing that, they learn that there are these different parts that make up the sentence.
You can start from ground zero, which entails going through every color and elaborating on it. E.g., “Who” (Orange) – talk about the answers that can go under the “Who” category. Or, for higher functioning kids, move quickly through the colors and start creating sentences.
It’s colorful and kids we work with, who are mostly visual learners, grasp on to the concept relatively quickly. Even the ones who are severely delayed/disordered in language learn to sort colors and follow the “rules” of simple sentences. Of course, we don’t always speak using just one sentence structure, but if these kids who are severely disordered can learn to correctly produce a few simple sentence structures, I take that as a victory!
The kids I’ve used this with also very quickly learn the grammar of sentences.
There is also a program called Alien Talk that has its roots in this program. Created by a Speechie in Australia, Alien Talk takes Colorful Semantics to a crazier level by tagging different parts of speech to different colored aliens. There are also more colors introduced such as the brown alien, which asks “Why?”. I use this program as well, and the kids LOVE the aliens. Retailing at about $95 bucks, it also comes with a ton of pictures and worksheets to use in therapy.
This program can also be adapted for writing tasks, although I have only used it for expressive language therapy.
Kids might be restricted to producing only a limited type of sentence structure. Other than that, can’t think of any dislikes at the moment!