Linguistics at Newcastle

Helping Children with Language Disorders

Helping Children with Language Disorders

Building Early Sentences Therapy (BEST) is a theoretically motivated intervention for children with severe speech and language difficulties.

This therapy is for children aged between three years and six years old who have yet to consistently produce three phrase spoken sentences. It has been successfully used in a busy Children’s Speech and Language Therapy Service in community and school settings.

BEST may be delivered in small groups or individually. It includes a homework pack and progress chart, designed to be attractive and easily accessed by all families, even those with limited literacy skills.

The BEST approach is delivered in English. Bilingual BEST in other minority ethnic languages will be available in the future.

The therapy is based on current linguistic theory and is child-led. The child does not have to provide responses immediately and can listen to learn language, joining in when they feel confident to do so. The use of toys and real objects make it accessible and fun for children and their families.


BEST was developed through partnership between academics and practitioners. The project was led by:

  • Cristina McKean, from ECLS
  • Sean Pert, from the Pennine Care NHS Foundation Trust
  • Carol Stow, from the Pennine Care NHS Foundation Trust


BEST was awarded the Sternberg Prize for clinical Innovation from the Royal Society of Speech andLanguage Therapists.