Group Singing for Aphasia (SPA)

South West PeninsulaNeurological
Start Date: 1 Mar 2011 End Date: 31 Dec 2018


Aphasia is an acquired communication disorder that impairs a person's ability to process language, but does not affect intelligence. Aphasia impairs the ability to speak and understand others, and most people with aphasia also experience difficulty reading and writing. Aphasia is caused by damage to the parts of the brain that are responsible for understanding and using language. Common causes of brain damage that can trigger aphasia include stroke, severe head injury, brain tumour and conditions that damage the brain and nervous system over time e.g. Alzheimers disease.

Information available from the NHS suggests that Aphasia is one of the most common problems arising from conditions affecting the brain. Speakability, a charity for people affected by aphasia, estimates that there are currently 250,000 people in the UK who have aphasia, with 20,000 new cases occurring each year.

Most people affected by aphasia are 65 or over. This is because stroke and common progressive neurological conditions, such as Alzheimer’s disease or other types of dementia, tend to affect people in this age group. The outlook for people with aphasia depends on the cause of the condition, the extent of the initial brain injury and the severity of symptoms. However, most people with aphasia will make at least some degree of recovery and many will recover fully.

Project aims

  • To develop a project team consisting of service users, voluntary sector, clinicians and academics.
  • To develop a 'group singing' intervention for people with stroke that have aphasia, to address wellbeing and quality of life.


You can read a recent news story about how our work with a local music group is helping to improve the recovery of those suffering with aphasia.

Dr Mark Tarrant