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Speech language pathology and neuroscience for vocalyx: adapting to the autism spectrum

Speech Language Pathology and Neuroscience for Vocalyx: Adapting to the Autism Spectrum

17h09 29/08/2018,

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Date: 27/08/2018

Author: Garric Clémentine, Master in Cognitive Neuroscience

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

What are the advantages and features that an application to aid communication for a child with autism must have? To adapt Vocalyx to the needs of these users, we studied these questions around a working group made up of the doctor Olivier de Masfrand, founder of Vocalyx and Léa Croze, Hélène Chappot de la Chanonie and Laura Le Cam, students in speech therapy.

▸La Vocalyx toolbox for Autism

1.the tablet to make communication attractive

Les enfants de nos jours démontrent une grande attraction, ainsi qu’une facilité surprenante à utiliser les outils numériques. Cette remarque est aussi vraie dans le contexte de l’autisme
L’encadrement autour de l’outil numérique est nécessaire : il ne faut pas entraîner un plus grand isolement social de l’enfant mais au contraire bénéficier de cette attention pour développer par exemple ses capacités à communiquer via l’installation d’application telle que Vocalyx.

2. communicate via pictograms, but also photos!

• Pictograms

Vocalyx offers 4 keyboards of communication for children, keyboards « Elementary ». They consist of different messages such as "I want to play", "I'm thirsty", "I like", "I don't like" illustrated by pictograms. Example : Communication keyboard «Élémentaire»:
The pictograms are chosen from a database widely used by speech-language pathologists because they respect several fundamental points to suit autistic children, such as containing a minimum amount of information per pictogram, because :

  • The child should not be distracted by a detail of the pictogram that would block his attention and make his comprehension

  • The characters should not be too realistic. More human" characters could make it more difficult for children to understand that they are expressing their needs/envies well through this character, or embarrass children who are not comfortable with the presence of other children.

• Photos

The Vocalyx application allows the accompanying person to personalize from A to Z the communication keyboards. It can add an unlimited number of new messages, adapted to the child's environment, associated with pictograms (access to our database in the application) or photos (taken directly with the camera or via the tablet album).
A child in the autism spectrum has in most cases generalization difficulty. For example, if the child associates the word "ball" with a green ball, he or she may not call "ball" a red ball. It is therefore essential to be able to find: his places, his clothes, his toys , to start communicating through the application.
The photos also allow to adapt to the level of representation of the child in case he cannot extract a concept from a pictogram, he will be able to recognize in photo his environment.

Designate on screen: The parameters associated with a key (a message) allow you to choose whether or not to display an image in full screen. This allows the child to express a specific desire by pointing to a picture of his or her clothes, for example: Example: "I show where it hurts"

3.Different levels

There are 4 communication keyboards Elementary:

  • Elementary 8 messages per page, associated with very large keys.

  • Elementary 1: Full 40 messages keyboard on one page

  • Elementary 2 Messages grouped by categories

  • Elementary3: Messages grouped by categories
  • Messages grouped by categories and additional keys to compose sentences. Example : "I want" +"not" +"eat"

4.Computer voice or familiar voice

voiced message : this allows the child's environment to understand what the child wants to say without necessarily having to know his or her codes and landmarks in images, learned with his or her parents or with the speech therapist.

By default, this message is vocalized by the synthesizing voice of the device used (smartphone or tablet). You can also use Voice Audio Recording mode and Associate a message with a familiar voice . This can not onlystimulate the child to use Vocalyx, but also to use special messages: for example, the mother of a Vocalyx user could record keys like "Stand", "Sit" with the intonation necessary for the child to interact with his dog.

5.Securing the interface

"protect" the communication keyboards by securing access to the modification parameters and simplifying the interface for the child. To do this, simply activate the available security mode in the general settings.

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