This web site is written and maintained by Dr S. Pert and Dr C. Stow.

Conference and handouts

A list of past and forthcoming conference attendances by Dr Pert and Dr Stow, including links to resources may be found here.

A list of publications by Dr Pert and Dr Stow, including research papers, book chapters and resources may be found here.

Sternberg Award for Clinical Innovation 2012

In November 2012, Dr Cristina McKean, Dr S. Pert and Dr C. Stow were awarded ‘The Sternberg Award for Clinical Innovation’ for their work on the BEST language therapy programme. Their achievement was reported in the Rochdale Observer and the Newcastle University web sites. Here is the press release from Newcastle University.


A Newcastle University expert has won a prestigious award for her work to help young children with language difficulties.Dr Cristina McKean and Drs Sean Pert and Carol Stow, who both work for Pennine Care NHS Foundation Trust, have been presented with the Sternberg Prize for clinical Innovation from the Royal Society of Speech and Language Therapists.The trio have developed a technique called BEST (Building Early Sentences Therapy) which they have been using with children aged between three and six for the past two years. BEST can be used to help children who speak different languages – something not all other techniques have been designed to do.Dr McKean, a lecturer in the School of Education, Communication and Language Sciences at Newcastle University, said: “I was really delighted when I heard we had won the award. We’ve worked very hard to develop BEST and as we all studied for our PhDs in speech and language at Newcastle, it’s really nice to for us to have our work recognised in this way.“The way BEST works is that it supports children to listen to adult speech and to figure out how sentences are constructed from the language that they hear – this is the way most children learn to speak if their Language develops normally.“We focus on the language the child hears and because we do it this way, it means BEST can also be used when children speak another language too. Other methods designed to help young children are developed to work in one particular language so they can’t always be used to help a child who speaks another.”The therapy has been used with children in the Rochdale area, where there is a large Asian community and where many children speak a Pakistani heritage language such as Mirpuri, Punjabi or Urdu at home.The youngsters typically have 16 sessions where they hear adult therapists saying particular sentences and acting them out with toys. The adults then change one or more elements of the sentence so the child can learn how to use a different but similar sentence to describe something else. In this way, the children learn the rules about how to combine words into a range of different sentences.Targeting language impairment in pre-school children is vital as research has shown that those children who start school with language difficulties are likely to have difficulties with literacy skills and learning in school. These difficulties can then lead to problems with employment and mental health in adulthood.

Sternberg Award for Clinical Innovation 2005

In October 2005, Dr C. Stow and Dr S. Pert were awarded 'The Sternberg Award for Clinical Innovation' by the Royal College of Speech & Language Therapists (RCSLT) for their work with bilingual Pakistani heritage children. The research has been published as a practical screening resource, 'Bilingual Speech Sound Screen: Pakistani Heritage Languages', by Speechmark.