Friday, June 19, 2015

Brave Champs Review and {{Giveaway}}

A couple months ago, I learned that the creators and marketing team for an exciting new and educational board game for children lived just down the street from me in Naperville, Illinois.  A former client introduced me to the team and I immediately became intrigued with their product: Brave Champs.  As a speech pathologist working with children in private practice, I strive to incorporate fun and functional instruction and this board game with its focus on community helpers and everyday heroes makes a wonderful addition to my resource collection.  With regards to language intervention, I have found this game most beneficial in addressing answering "Who" questions about professionals that we may encounter on a daily basis.  Over the last six weeks, I have been using Brave Champs during my treatment sessions with a few of my private clients.  This review will highlight some background information about the game and summarize my data collection for each client.

Brave Champs is a colorful board game that comes with a deck of over 100, visually appealing question cards.  The object is to be the first player to reach the finish by accurately answering "Who" questions about all kinds of occupations from fire fighter to lawn care workers.  The game board itself is bright and cheerful without being too distracting.  In fact, I was told that the colors used on the board can be interpreted by those with color blindness!  Question cards are coded in three different colors and players must choose cards that match the colored space they land on.  Decks range from easy (green cards) to moderately challenging (yellow cards) to difficult (red cards.)  Questions are written at the top of each card and answers are on the bottom.  I especially liked this feature because I could cover or bring attention to the answer depending on the client's needs.  In addition to the question cards, you get a chance to role play some occupations too depicted in orange trophy cards.  The trophy deck has fairly easy jobs that you can act out silently for other players to guess.  This allows for a nice movement break during the course of a game, which never hurts anyone!

Once I saw this game, I immediately wanted to use it with two six year old girls diagnosed with autism.  Both have been working hard on answering comprehension questions during school and private speech and language sessions.  Over the last year, they have been using a speech generating device called the Nova to answer questions and make requests.  For this reason, I set up game play using picture cards that are programmed in the device.  I first introduced the game using both the board and card decks, but this proved to be too much at this time, so we drilled the question cards instead over the course of six weeks.  In addition to going through the cards, we have been using a community building set from Lakeshore pictured below.  The object of this game is to sort associative picture cards into the appropriate building.  This lends opportunities to work on "what" and "where" questions.  Between my Brave Champs game and Community buildings set, I've got my sessions covered!

In preparation for game play, I created a 30 picture board visual using Smarty Symbols and my Custom Board app by Smarty Ears for the iPad.  I wanted to have this handy in case a Nova was accidentally left at home and for use with other clients.  If you would like to grab a copy of this visual, then you can at this link.  All of the occupations on this board are part of the Brave Champs game, but you could certainly use my supplement in other speech and language lessons too!

As mentioned, I tried this super, fun game over the last month and a half in my private speech and language practice with a few clients.  While the game was created for typically developing children aged four and older, you can easily adapt it to meet the needs of children with speech and language delays.  Below, I will recap each of my client's experience and progress using their initials to protect confidentiality.  Let's see how they did!

M.S. had an especially difficult time during the first session with coordinating using the game board, keeping the marker on one location, and attending to the question cards. Therefore, I took my baseline at the following session using 12 cards.  At baseline, M.S. accurately found 8 out of 12 icons on her Nova.  She added knowledge of two more targets after using the cards weekly for one month.  One observation that I observed was some confusion with the visuals on the card deck.  The mail carrier in particular appeared to resemble the picture icon of policeman on the Nova.  In further updates, I would love to see cards like this one display the uniform of mail carriers that we often see in our neighborhoods or perhaps include even more background, associative images to assist more visual, concrete learners in answering accurately.

C.S. showed tremendous improvement in responding to the Brave Champ questions.  At the beginning of her six week trial, C.S. accurately answered two of the fifteen cards.  Again, we only used the cards and her Nova to answer questions, but eventually, I would like to introduce the game board.  During our most recent session, C.S. not only identified nine out of fifteen cards accurately, but she also reportedly was heard activating the buttons on her Nova to the jobs we have been practicing in speech while at home!  Generalization of skills is always a great sign of progress!  I love that she is learning vocabulary that she can apply functionally to her everyday life too.

C.N. is a 10 year old who just graduated from speech services.  At his final session, he enjoyed playing Brave Champs using the card decks and board game.  This client did not present with language delays; however, he loves playing games that allow him to use his dramatic play skills!  I must say, he is wildly entertaining when it comes to role playing.  Often times, this shy guy breaks out of his shell during nonverbal reenactments, so he especially liked the acting feature of Brave Champs.

Overall, I really like Brave Champs and will certainly continue using it in my speech and language practice.  I think that it is a wonderful idea to expose our young children to over 100 different jobs and I would love to see even more careers added to the decks such as speech, occupational, and physical therapists (although, I'm obviously biased when it come to these professions!). It would be great to see a game like this for older individuals, especially those in special education.  Why not educate all ages about potential careers beyond video game developers and veterinarians?  I look forward to seeing what the Brave Champs team markets next for their brand!

The Brave Champs developers were kind enough to grant me a game in order to review the product and one to raffle for my followers! You can try your luck below or go to this amazon link if you'd rather order your copy today! No other compensation was received in exchange for this review and opinions expressed here are solely and unbiasedly mine.

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  1. I also love that the question and answers are on the same side of the card.