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Neuroscience for vocalyx: adapting to different aphasic profiles

Neuroscience for Vocalyx: adapting to different aphasic profiles

12h21 27/08/2018,

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Date: 27/08/2018

Author: Garric Clémentine, Master in Cognitive Neurosciences

At Vocalyx : Adaptation of the communication content to the different cognitive profiles of the application users

Communication disorders are multiple: for example, they can be of cerebral origin (following a stroke), developmental (context of the autistic spectrum) or mechanical (paralysis of the face, alteration of the vocal cords, dysarthria).

The challenge of a communication aid application like Vocalyx is to make available the adapted toolbox so that a message born in the head of a user (a profile among all the possibilities listed above), can be expressed to his entourage.

Essentially, Vocalyx is designed for non-fluent aphasia, Broca or mixed type or progressive primary aphasia.

▸La Vocalyx toolbox of aphasia

The processing of language in our brain is very complex and requires many capabilities: some specifically related to language, but also more global cognitive abilities involved in all our actions, called executive functions. A stroke can affect several of these abilities and this, in a more or less important way: the profiles of aphasic people are therefore very different, each case is unique


The communication keyboards proposed in the Vocalyx application make it possible to express the needs of everyday life. Pre-recorded messages are general (I'm hungry, I'm thirsty, I show where I hurt, etc). They are at personalize with the user (his identity, preferences, activities, ...).

It is the form of these messages (appearance, interface in which they are presented) that must adapt to the cognitive abilities of the user. The work of the form was thus carried out according to 2 major axes:

1. Propose different visual supports: Pictograms? Photos? Texts ?

- Reading possible

Some people have essentially a lack of the word and a very important difficulty in articulating, but have retained the ability to read: these people will prefer messages in text format. (PHRASES keyboard) Example of a key to be Vocalized by synthetic voice:

Some people essentially have a lack of the word and a very important difficulty to articulate, but have kept the reading capacity : these people will prefer messages in the format text.(Keyboard " PHRASES ") Example of a key to be Vocalized by synthesis voice:

In addition to the various pre-recorded and personalized keys, if the user does not find in his communication keyboard what he wants to express he can use the predictive input .

A reading bar is present above each keyboard, when you click on it, the AZERTY keyboard is displayed. The person can not only manually type his message, but will also be helped by word prediction , which proposes the words according to the letters chosen by the user.

- Reading difficulties

When reading is affected : the word, the object sought, the need to communicate must be accessible otherwise. This is possible via the designation of images

We offer two types of images in the Vocalyx application: photos. (PHOTOS keyboards) or pictograms (PICTOS keyboards). Examples: The communication keyboards most used by people with aphasia remain photo keyboards: in fact, they can feel infantilized by the use of pictograms. However, pictos often make it easier to conceptualize complex messages (like actions, for example, difficult to capture in a photo). They also have the advantage of being purified: they have no disturbing elements around the symbolized object.

The accompanying will choose with the user between the two types of images.

2. Propose different levels of complexity: Use of themes ?

These communication keyboards are selected according to the answers to the questions you give when you first enter the Vocalyx application : the user only comes across keyboards relevant and adapted to his disorder.However, you can access all Vocalyx keyboards in the application if you want to download more keyboards: you will find keyboards of different levels, as well as keyboards for specific contexts (Hospital, Retirement Home,...).

You are users, parents, carers or health professionals specialized in the field? We build our application thanks to your feedback on user needs. Feel free to send us your feedback, suggestions or specific requests to improve our application at Every opinion counts!