What is a Sentence Production Program for Aphasia (SPPA)?

Sentence Production Program for Aphasia (SPPA) is a therapy tool to help people with aphasia to form sentences. Many treatments for aphasia focus on word finding and naming. However, forming sentences is another area that is difficult for many people with aphasia. SPPA is a treatment that can be helpful.

In SPPA, the speech-language pathologist (SLP) will use techniques to work on sentences that all have a similar format. However, these sentences will use different words and have different meanings. In the treatment, the SLP reads stories to the person with aphasia. The stories contain examples of sentences that are the targets of the therapy. The person with aphasia will first try to repeat the sentence. If they are able to repeat the sentence, the SLP will then ask a question to get them to say it on their own.

The program works on eight different types of sentences, with multiple examples of each one. The sentences get more complex as the program continues. Examples of sentence types include comparative sentences, wh- questions, and yes/no questions.

SPPA has specific therapy materials and a treatment program that is available to SLPs. It is always presented in the same way and in the same order when it is being used as it was designed.

SPPA is a good fit for people who have agrammatism, or a difficulty with sentence structure and syntax. This is most common in nonfluent aphasia, such as Broca’s aphasia. To be successful, the person with aphasia needs to have basic comprehension abilities, as well as attention and memory. The treatment requires that the person understand the stories that are read to them and remember some information.

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