What is the Prolonged Speech Pack?

The materials that form the Prolonged Speech Pack are just one of many types of resource to assist with the teaching and learning of one particular fluency shaping technique known as Prolonged Speech.

What is fluency shaping?

Fluency shaping is an intervention for stuttering that seeks to supplant dysfluent (stuttered) speech with fluent speech. It is thought to be especially helpful when overt characteristics of stuttering, such as blushing or facial tics, are more pronounced than any covert characteristics, such as avoidance strategies and attempts to conceal the dysfluency.

What’s included in the pack?

  • guidebook
  • worksheets
  • audio files

Guidebook

A guide to using the Prolonged Speech Pack materials is provided. The guidebook gives links to the relevant worksheets and audio files.

Worksheets

Practice sheets for relaxation using head and neck exercises and a yawn-sigh technique are provided.

In addition, there is a handout with brief exercises that ensure the client fully understands the concept of syllables. Prolonged speech is a type of syllable-timed speech, which uses the number of spoken syllables per minute as a measure of the rate of speech. It is, therefore, essential that the client can accurately identify syllables within written texts.

Another handout that explains the prolonged speech technique is also provided.

The bulk of the included worksheets are written texts that are organized by the total number of syllables in each. These provide a quick resource to help clients progress from speaking fluently using a prolonged speech technique at a slow speed of just 40 syllables per minute (spm) to an average speed of around 140 spm. [NB: There is a lot of variation in speaking rate in any population. It varies from culture to culture and is highly dependent on context: with some people speaking more than 200 spm. For therapeutic purposes, however, we will aim for an average rate of around 140 spm.] Worksheets are provided for reading aloud at:

  • 40 spm
  • 60 spm
  • 80 spm
  • 100 spm
  • 120 spm
  • 140 spm

Because the main therapy materials are written texts this has implications for which clients may benefit from the materials. Those who are likely to benefit are probably reasonably confident readers and those who enjoy reading. Some of the vocabulary used in the texts may be unfamiliar and, therefore, a certain degree of confidence is required to tackle them. However, unfamiliarity is not necessarily an obstacle, as the strangeness itself can serve to help clients focus more carefully on how they control their speech to construct and speak particular words in an ongoing stream of talk.

The worksheets are designed to be printed and used with clients. They are available as downloadable PDF files and are easily identifiable, as they each have the following characteristic logo at the top of each page.

worksheet header

Of course, you don’t have to use the provided texts. It is always possible to use existing materials such as comics, magazines, newspapers, websites, and so on. However, the included materials provide a quick, reproducible resource for busy clinicians and/or for people experiencing dysfluency who would like to practice prolonged speech through self-teaching.

Audio recordings

In addition to the worksheets, five audio files in MP3 format are provided. These are recordings of someone using the prolonged speech technique at a rate of:

  • 40 spm
  • 60 spm
  • 80 spm
  • 100 spm
  • 120 spm

Will I need anything else?

You will need a watch or clock with a second hand, or digital counter in seconds. This is used to time the readings. Each reading should be spoken aloud, and each should take one minute to complete.

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