Voice Activated Assistance

What is voice activated technology?

  • Alexa, Siri, Cortana, Google assistant and Bixby are all voice activated technologies.
  • They work on smartphones and tablets but also through smart speakers (e.g. Amazon Echo, Google Home).
  • You speak to the device and it 'speaks' back to you or it carries out a command you've given it.
  • These voice activated technologies use special 'apps' which can be activated. On Alexa devices, these 'apps' are called skills and for Google devices, they are called actions

Possible benefits of this technology for some people with aphasia

  • Even if a person has trouble speaking, many people with aphasia can say a few words.
  • Most people with aphasia want to improve their speech.
  • Voice activated technologies may help some people with aphasia to practise speaking.
  • A lot of people now have smart speakers in their homes.
  • Voice recognition technology can now understand people with speech difficulties much better than a few years ago.

How might someone with aphasia use it?

To practise useful phrases & questions, for example:

  • What is the time?
  • What is on the TV tonight?
  • What will the weather be like tomorrow?
  • Who won the football today?
  • How far is it to London?

To practise simple conversations, for example:

  • How are you? …I'm fine… How are you feeling today?...I'm feeling well, and you?
  • Do you like jazz?...No…I don't like it either…

To practise speech intelligibility, for example:

  • speaking at the right pace and with enough clarity.
  • recording your speech to listen back.

To support daily activities, for example:

  • Make a shopping list
  • Set a reminder
  • Set an alarm
  • Turn on the lights/heating


  • Using the free fun games
  • practise listening
  • following instructions
  • saying words
  • spelling
  • asking questions

At the moment, only Alexa devices include mini games (known as 'skills'). Some people with aphasia may find these fun & useful.

Currently, Google, Siri & Cortana are limited to commands - for example:

  • asking what's on TV tonight, setting reminders, asking for a joke, etc…

Below are a few examples of these mini games you find only on Alexa.

  • When Google, Siri or Cortana start adding games, we will list them here too.


SkillPlatformTo practice or supportBrief description
Simon SaysAlexa

Following instructions

Remembering instructions

You must follow Alexa's instructions.

For example:

  • Simon says Put your hands on your head
  • Simon says look at the ceiling
  • Simon says touch your nose
Spelling AssistantAlexaSpelling
  • Alexa says the word, then spells it, then says it again
Animal GameAlexa

Saying words

Listening to questions

Alexa asks you to think of an animal & then asks you questions to guess what you are thinking of.

  • What colour is it?
  • Does it have fur?
  • Does it live in the sea?
  • How many legs does it have?
Memory quizAlexa

Hearing & remembering



Alexa tells you a short story.

  • You must answer 4 questions about it.
Feel the pressureAlexa

Speaking words

Word meanings


Alexa gives a letter of the alphabet & then asks a question whose answer begins with that letter

For example:

  • /F/ a country famous for wine & the Eiffel Tower
Any listAlexa

Saying words

Word meanings

Ask Alexa, at any time, to add items to a list

For example:

  • (e.g. shopping list)
True of FalseAlexa


Saying True/False

Alexa tells you facts & you must state whether the fact is true or false
Would you rather?Alexa


Repeating sentences

Alexa asks questions & you must repeat back which option you would prefer

For example:

  • would you prefer to be in a room crawling with spiders or in a tank with a shark?)
Escape the roomAlexa


Organisation & planning

Remembering information

Giving verbal instructions

Alexa describes where you are trapped and you must figure out how to escape.

Could be a fun team game

Magic 8 ballAlexa

Speaking sentences

Asking questions

Ask Alexa random yes/no questions and Alexa will give a response
The magic doorAlexa


Repeating words

Alexa leads you through a world, describing it for you and asks you to make choices about where to go next