Diction teacher. The speech therapist who teaches children and adults to speak correctly

Carmen Stoicu has worked for a long time with children and young people with disabilities, and now she teaches the little ones to develop their language, and teenagers and adults to correct their speech impairments.

Carmen Stoicu PHOTO personal archive

Carmen Stoicu (50 years old) is a psychologist and speech therapist in Galati. Ever since she was a teenager, she wanted to somehow influence the people around her, and her dream took shape 20 years ago when she started working in an NGO with young people in foster care.

Later, he worked with children and young people from families in difficulty, children and young people with disabilities, children from kindergartens, schools and other non-formal education institutions.

Working with institutionalized youth, she realized that she was not professionally prepared enough to face the challenges, so she attended the Faculty of Psychology, numerous training and specialization courses, then a master's degree in Clinical Psychology and Psychological Counseling. Currently, he is attending a training school in Systemic Family and Couple Psychotherapy.

Since 2015, he coordinated the activity of a recovery center within the “Heart of a Child” Foundation in Galati and worked with children with various pathologies.

“In eight years I worked with several hundred children for whom I was the “lady who taught them to speak””said Carmen Stoicu for “Weekend Adevărul”.

Since 2019, he has his own practice, where he has helped several hundred other children correct their speech and diction deficiencies. “To speak correctly you must know what it actually means to speak correctly. You have to learn which is the point of articulation for each individual sound”, explains the speech therapist.

The mistakes of adults

More and more children are experiencing speech difficulties, such as delays in language development: “Parents contact me and tell me that, at 4 years old, their children only articulate a few words. Doesn't sound good at all. At 2 years old, a child should be able to speak in simple two-word sentences.”

The reasons are various and one of them is unrestricted access to mobile phones and other gadgets.
“The child will not recover on its own. You have to go to a neuropsychiatrist, a psychologist, a speech therapist”,
warns Carmen Stoicu.

Because she has practiced so much with children, her expression is perfect and the timbre of her voice is firm and expressive – it is enough to talk a little on the street with someone, and people recognize her immediately by her voice. That's how he became “Professor of diction” in 2023.

Adults also have serious speech problems, and the speech therapist is already organizing the second series of online diction workshops for adults to correct their deficiencies.

Most adults do not open their mouths far enough when they speak. Sounds are formed by exhaled air, taking the shape of the oral cavity. The more we open our mouths more and more correctly, the better the sounds are articulated”, Carmen Stoicu highlights one of the mistakes we make.

Also, we do not pronounce the final sounds of words, usually the consonants “c”, “d”, “ț” or the vowels inside them.

Many Romanians tend to assimilate the sounds:
“If a word ends with a consonant and the next word begins with the same consonant, we don't pronounce two consonants,” explains she, who also says that a large number of people are hissy and peltic.

Stuttering in children and adults

Stuttering is a different story though. Carmen Stoicu would like to point out that the stuttering that appears in early childhood, around 3 years old, is normal.

“At that age, the brain develops before the speech apparatus. The child wants to say a lot, but his mouth is not helping, so to speak. The brain thinks fast, but the mouth can't keep up and stammers.”
the psychologist describes the process.

The stuttering that occurs later is emotional in nature or occurs when we are in a hurry to say something. It can be solved with exercises, and breathing is important for everything that means speaking and correcting it, says Carmen: “If we learn to breathe correctly, we correct a lot of what diction means”.

Carmen Stoicu says that correct breathing is important for diction PHOTO personal archive

Carmen Stoicu says that correct breathing is important for diction PHOTO personal archive

Also, the speech therapist emphasizes that for the best possible results the exercises must be repeated as long as necessary. Adults tend to do the breathing and diction exercises only at the speech therapist, which is not enough. They are very busy, but somehow they have to make time, because otherwise they will be left with serious speech problems.

As I speak, so I write

Carmen Stoicu has gotten used to being bombarded with phone calls every time she starts school. There are children with speech impairments whom the teachers send to speech therapists.

“A child who has not corrected all his sounds when he enters school, how he speaks, how he will write. For example, if I say «l» instead of «r», it will write «l» because it does not hear «r».
Children first learn the sounds and then the association with the letters. If they don't hear the sound, they have no way to translate it into a letter on the notebook,” explains the specialist.

There are 5 or 6-year-old children who are unintelligible because they were not sent to a speech therapist when they were in kindergarten. Cases in which little ones correct themselves are very rare.

“If at 4 years old the child has many sounds that he does not say or says them defectively, with his tongue between his teeth, he should not wait until 5 or 6 years old before taking him to a speech therapist”, is Carmen Stoicu's advice. On the other hand, if at 4 years old he does not pronounce a letter, there is no cause for concern.

Added to all this is a medical problem found in many children. Due to frequent colds and mouth breathing, there is a change in the roof of the mouth, the jaw is deformed, and the specialist says that the tongue becomes too thick and this is how speech impairments appear.

“If the child has problems with polyps, it is good not to delay and to operate immediately, because it is a vicious circle, a chain of weaknesses that extends a lot”, warns the speech therapist.

The most spectacular recovery was achieved with a little girl who will soon be 5 years old and who, two years ago, was on the verge of drowning. Following the accident, he was left with serious sequelae both in terms of body mobility and speech.

“When he came to me, he was only making sounds. Now speak in sentences. It is only soul. At 3 years old, he wanted to speak”, remembers Carmen with emotion.

Her advice to any parent is to take their child to a neuropsychiatrist for a consultation if at 2 1/2 years old they are not speaking in simple, two-word sentences, and if it is not a medical problem, it is necessary to take them to a speech therapist for developmental the language.

Children who speak at 4 years old also need the help of a speech therapist, but the sounds are defective and what they say is not understood.