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SAPPA Project


When caring for a person with aphasia, loved ones risk feeling helpless, stressed, and frustrated. Difficulty with communicating due to aphasia makes their task all the more difficult.  The SAPPA Project began at the AQPA in 2013, with the sustained support of Claire Croteau, Ph.D. professor at the University of Montreal’s School of Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology. The goal of this service is to bring support to the caregivers of seniors with aphasia and to encourage the adoption of effective and personalized communication strategies with their loved ones. A positive evaluation of these services was achieved thanks to a research project subsidized by the REPAR-OPHQ and the touching testimonies of families that were served, which push us to expand and offer our services more broadly. SAPPA receives a grant from APPUI Montréal for the caregivers of the elderly.

Please visit our Facebook page: « SAPPA – Service aux proches d’une personne aphasique» (French only*). You will find advice and resources that are intended primarily for the caregivers of people with aphasia

What constitutes this project?

With the caregiver, the coordinator evaluates their needs and those of their family. Afterwards, we offer :

  • the services of a Social Worker in an individual or group setting (participation in a support group)
  • meetings with a Speech-Language Pathologist trained in the SAPPA approach that take place in a dyad (caregiver-person with aphasia) at home or on the AQPA premises, in groups with other families, as well as via telepractice.

The services are delivered in French or English according to preference. Likewise, the families decide with the Social Worker and the Speech-Language Pathologist the desired scheduling of meetings

What are the eligibility criteria?

SAPPA is open to all caregivers of a senior/person living with aphasia on the island of Montreal. Unfortunately we cannot offer our services to residents off of the island of Montreal.

How do I obtain services?

SAPPA is free; the person with aphasia and their caregiver must become members of the AQPA to benefit. SAPPA is subsidized by APPUI Montréal for caregivers of the elderly. For more information or to sign up a person with aphasia and their caregiver, please contact the Association Québécoise des personnes aphasiques (AQPA) at (514) 277-5678, extension 6, or by email:

Notre équipe

Claire Croteau, Speech-Language Pathologist, Professor, & Researcher

Claire Croteau is a speech-language pathologist and associate professor at the School of Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology at the University of Montreal. She is particularly interested in her research in communication in families where a member has aphasia. She has contributed since 2013 to the development and support of SAPPA.

Kalyna Franko, Speech-Language Pathologist & Coordinator

Speech-language pathologist since 2015 and coordinator of SAPPA, Kalyna also works in hospitals with people who have acquired communication disorders. At SAPPA, she strives to help people with aphasia and their partners to improve their communication at home and in the community.

Maureen Stafford, Social Worker

Certified with a Master’s of Social Work from the University of Toronto, Maureen Stafford had a career at the Douglas Mental Health University Institute. It was as a supervisor of internships at the McGill University School of Social Work that she was brought to the AQPA in 2011, happy to join the team in place. As soon as the Service for partners of people with aphasia (SAPPA) began, she was associated, bringing to it her rich experience in mental health and psychosocial rehabilitation, as well as her training in family therapy and in communication adapted to people with aphasia. In addition to providing emotional and often very concrete support to people with aphasia who are involved in complex situations, she also animates a support group for the caregivers, both Anglophone and Francophone. Maureen finds a sense of happiness at work from the courage, determination, and the optimism of people with aphasia and their families. She is the ideal person for the job, because her legendary big smile calls to the wise, friendly, and inner strength of our members.

Geneviève Mercier, Speech-Language Pathologist

Graduate from UdeM’s School of Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology in 2001, Geneviève has worked as a speech-language pathologist for more than 15 years with pediatric clientele. She has accumulated experience in different work environments (rehabilitation, hospital, home service in private practice, university clinic) and is actively involved in the clinical training of students at UdeM. Her collaboration with SAPPA represents a return to her first passion: aphasia and its numerous consequences on the person and their entourage.

Judith Tchen, Speech-Language Pathologist

As a Speech-Language Pathologist working primarily in hospital settings with people who have dysphagia (difficulty swallowing) and aphasia, Judith finds that SAPPA is an invaluable service in the continuum of stroke care.

Alexandra Tessier, Speech-Language Pathologist

Alexandra joined the SAPPA team in 2015 to work with people with aphasia and their partners by supporting them in their daily communication. In parallel, Alexandra is pursuing doctoral studies. Her work at SAPPA and thesis project are motivated by the desire to achieve a more inclusive society for people with communication disorders.

Anabelle Rousseau, Speech-Language Pathologist

Since 2016, Anabelle has worked as a speech-language pathologist at the CSDM with primary school students. She became interested in conversation therapy for people with aphasia and their partners in 2013, as a research assistant. In January 2017, she joined the SAPPA team as a speech-language pathologist. It is a pleasure for her to be able to apply what she does in research with dyads in order to improve their quality of life.

Dominique Barma-Hamel, Speech-Language Pathologist

Graduate from UdeM’s School of Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology in 2014, Dominique specializes in adolescent and adult clientele. She joined the SAPPA team in 2016. “What motivates me to work at SAPPA is allowing people with aphasia and their partners to rediscover enjoyment in communicating, even if the words are difficult to find.».

Laurence Landry-Fortin, Speech-Language Pathologist

Since 2016, Laurence has primarily been involved in working with children who have language disorders and their families, in early childhood centres (CPE) and in CLSCs. In November 2016, she joined the SAPPA team. She enjoys working with people with aphasia and their partners to find pleasure in communicating and consequently, to witness the improvement in their quality of life.

Béatrice Dalard Chay, Speech-Language Pathologist

Since graduating from Paris VI Pitié Salpétrière in 1996, Béatrice has specialized in neurologically-based communication disorders. She has worked at the AQPA since her arrival in Montreal and has worked for SAPPA since October 2017. She believes that working in a dyad with the caregiver is one of the important elements in improving the confidence in the process of communication and promoting the social participation of a person with aphasia.

Françoise Rollin, Executive Director of the AQPA

Francoise Rollin is an occupational therapist with a Master’s in Public Affairs and a Certificate in Corporate Governance from the University of Laval (2012). She combines a wealth of experience in both clinical work and management, having been the president of the Order of Occupational Therapists of Quebec for 20 years. She has also served as a deputy local commissioner of complaints and quality at the CHUM. For the last three years, she has worked as a healthcare accreditation specialist for the Conseil uébécois d’agrément. She also serves on the board of directors of a number of administrative councils, namely the Conseil inter-professionnel du Québec, Parkinson Québec, Vision sur l’art Québec and Quebec Easter Seals. She has also served as president of the board of the Constance Lethbridge Rehabilitation Center. Currently, Françoise Rollin is an independent member (expertise in rehabilitation) on the board of the CISSS Montérégie-Centre and serves on the board of the Order of Dentists of Quebec as a representative of the Office des professions du Québec.

In December, 2015, Francoise Rollin joined the AQPA as the Executive Director. She is motivated by the AQPA’s mission and is committed to improving the quality of life and social integration of people with aphasia.


Visit ou Facebook page : « SAPPA – Service aux proches d’une personne aphasique » (French only). You will find advices, tips and resources which target caregivers of persons with aphasia. We also invite you to look, on our Youtube channel, to short videos created by our speech-language pathologists: « SAPPA project »

Contact APPUI Montreal for information about more caregiver services:

Caregiver Support is a free and confidential phone consultation, information and referral service for the caregivers of older adults, as well as friends and family, practitioners and health care professionals.

1 855 852-7784

*For an English language Facebook group offering information and support for caregivers of people with aphasia, please visit the Aphasia Recovery Connection website :