Much like, cancellations and pull-outs, a prep set is a speech tool I use with clients as they gain the ability to monitor their speech. Prep sets help a person who stutters (PWS) make changes to their speech so that their speech can be more forward-moving and so that they can stutter more comfortably. Once a client demonstrates the ability to use cancellations and pullouts, I will introduce the idea of prep sets.
WHAT IS A PREPARATORY SET?
— This is a speech tool used when you anticipate stuttering on a word prior to actually stuttering on it.
— Prep sets require a person to ease on to a word with a slightly prolonged initial sound (i.e. hhhhhello).
— A similar tool is used with young children, easy speech. The difference is prep sets are only used when a person anticipates struggling on a word, as opposed to on all words that initiate a sentence.
— Prep sets can be used on words that you tend to stutter on and as a result this tool can be considered “preventative.”
— This strategy is considered a “stuttering modification” tool as it’s goal is to help a person stutter more comfortably and in a more forward moving way.
WHY DO PREP SETS WORK?
— Increases airflow (as often there is a stoppage, especially during a block)
— Changes the articulatory posture (the shape that your lips, tongue, jaw, etc. are in) to a posture that will allow for the intended sound to escape in a more forward-moving way. Often PWS will initiate a word with an articulatory posture that does not match the one necessary to begin the sound. For instance, an open mouth posture (ex. a posture to emit the sound “uh”) when the person is trying to say “bye” which requires a closed mouth posture to make the “b” sound.
— Cancellations and pull-outs work in much the same manner, but prep sets are used prior to a stuttering moment as opposed to during or after, as seen with the other two tools.
WHAT DOES A PREP SET SOUND LIKE?
— “Hhhhi, my name is Brooke.”
— Listen to the audio sample above to hear what a prep set sounds like.