Linggo: A New Communication App for Non-Verbal People with Dementia

Older male adult uses the Linggo app with a family member

Award Date: 2018

Project Lead(s): Ling Ly Tan, Behaviour Analyst

Project Title: Lingo: An Augmentative and Alternative (AAC) Communication System Designed to Replace Spoken Communication for Non-Verbal Individuals

What is the issue?

People with dementia often lose the ability to speak as their condition progresses. This loss limits their ability to interact with caregivers and make independent choices. It also reduces their quality of life. There are few electronic systems available that can help these individuals communicate better.  

What did we do?

We developed a mobile app called Linggo to help nonverbal people with dementia communicate with speech and language therapists, clinicians and caregivers using an iPad or tablet. Users can include older adults living with dementia, as well as those who are non-verbal due to stroke or autism. The app uses displays a list of relevant words that match users’ daily needs, preferences, and social activities. We asked people with dementia and Alzheimer’s disease, who had lost the ability to speak, to test the app. We evaluated how it worked.  

What did we find?

The individuals who tested Linggo system started using words and sometimes phrases to communicate when using the app. We will continue to test Linggo with more older adults to determine the usefulness of our innovation and if it works well.