Dr Blanca Schaefer PhD, Diplom-Lehr- und Forschungslogopaedin, SLT

Blanca Schaefer

Department of Human Communication Sciences
University of Sheffield
362 Mushroom Lane
S10 2TS
United Kingdom

email: blanca.schaefer@sheffield.ac.uk


I qualified as a Speech and Language Therapist (SLT) in 2000. Afterwards, I studied Teaching and Research Logopedics at Aachen University of Technology (Germany). Simultaneously, I worked part-time as a Speech and Language Therapist at a private SLT practice. My MSc dissertation investigated the acquisition of consistent word realization in German-speaking children aged 2;0-2;11 years.
I came to the University of Sheffield (Department of Human Communication Sciences) in October 2004, having been awarded an MPhil/PhD studentship and teaching assistantship. My PhD, supervised by Prof Joy Stackhouse and Prof Bill Wells, investigated the acquisition of phonological awareness skills in German-speaking preschool children.
Between September 2008 and August 2009, I worked as a Teaching Associate in Sheffield.
In 2009, I joined Newcastle University as a Research Associate and was involved in the re-standardisation of The New Reynell Developmental Language Scales.
Between 2010 and 2012, I was a lecturer and professor at the Fresenius University of Applied Sciences Hamburg, but also worked as a free-lance SLT with mono- and multilingual children with spoken and written language difficulties.
Between September 2012 and August 2014, I worked as a post-doctoral Research Associate on the Get Ready for Learning Project, which was an oral language intervention study with principal investigators from the University of Sheffield (Dr Silke Fricke), the University of York (Claudine Bowyer-Crane) and University College London (Prof Charles Hulme).
Between August 2014 and July 2015, I worked as a Visiting Lecturer at the University of Chester (Department of English).
I rejoined the Department of Human Communication Sciences again as a Lecturer in July 2015.

Research Interests

  • Spoken and written language development and disorders in mono- and multilingual children
  • Cognitive predictors of literacy acquisition, in particular phonological awareness
  • Development of language and literacy assessment tools for mono- and multilingual children
  • Evaluation of early intervention approaches for children at risk of literacy difficulties

Professional Activities

  • Fellow of the Higher Education Academy
  • Manuscript Reviewer for a range of journals
  • Member: Deutscher Bundesverband für Logopädie (dbl; German Federal Association of Logopedics); Society for the Scientific Study of Reading (SSSR), International Association for the Study of Child Language (IASCL), Bundesverband Legasthenie und Dyskalkulie e.V. (BVL, German Association for Dyslexia and Dyscalculia

Current Projects

  • Building a vocabulary app and database for multilingual children using cloud computing Research project, in collaboration with Dr Silke Fricke (University of Sheffield), Dr Mariam Kiran (University of Bradford/University of Sheffield), Dr Twin Karmakharm (University of Sheffield), Dr Claudine Bowyer-Crane (University of York), and Dr Frank Herrmann (University of Chester).
  • Speech acquisition in 2-year olds, in collaboration with Prof A.V. Fox-Boyer


  • Professor Annette Fox-Boyer (EU-FH Rostock, Germany)
  • Dr Carolyn Letts (Newcastle University)
  • Dr Frank Herrmann (University of Chester)
  • Dr Silke Fricke (University of Sheffield)
  • Dr Mariam Kiran (Bradford University)

Selected Publications

Bowyer-Crane, C., Fricke, S., Schaefer, B., Lervag, A., & Hulme, C. (2017). Early literacy and comprehension skills in children learning English as an additional language and monolingual children with language weaknesses. Reading and Writing, 30, 771-790, 10.1007/s11145-016-9699-8

Schaefer, B., Stackhouse, J. & Wells, B. (2016). Phonological awareness development in children with and without spoken language difficulties. International Journal of Speech-Language Pathology, Early Online 1-11, 10.1080/17549507.2016.1221449

Schaefer, B. & Fox-Boyer, A. (2016). The development of initial consonant clusters in German-speaking 2-year olds. International Journal of Speech-Language Pathology, Early Online 1-14. 10.1080/17549507.2016.1221450

Schaefer, B., Fricke, S., Herrmann, F., & Bowyer-Crane, C. (2015). Development of a new tablet application for the assessment of receptive vocabulary skills in multilingual children. Child Language Teaching and Therapy. DOI: 10.1177/0265659015591634

Schaefer, B., & Fricke, S. (2015). Language Programmes. In M. Kersner & J.A. Wright (Eds.): Supporting Young Children with Communication Problems (4th ed.). Oxon, United Kingdom: Taylor & Francis/Routledge.

Fox-Boyer, A.V. & Schäfer, B. (2015). Phonologieerwerb (Speech acquisition). In S. Sachse (Ed.): Handbuch Sprachentwicklung und Sprachentwicklungsstörungen – Band 3: Frühe Kindheit (Handbook of Language Acquisition and Language Disorders, Volume 3, Early Childhood). München, Germany: Elsevier.

Schaefer, B., Bremer, M., & Herrmann, F. (2014). Onset and phoneme awareness and its relationship to letter knowledge in German-speaking preschool children. Folia Phoniatrica et Logopaedica, 66, 126–131.

Schäfer, B., Wessels, S., & Fricke, S. (2014). Die Phonologische Bewusstheit bei Dreijährigen (Phonological awareness development in 3-year olds). Sprache Stimme Gehör, 38, 1–5.

Letts, C.A., Edwards, S., Schaefer, B. & Sinka, I. (2014). The New Reynell Developmental Language Scales: Descriptive account and illustrative case study. Child Language Teaching and Therapy, 30(1), 103–116.

Schäfer, B. (2013). Erwerb der phonologischen Bewusstheit und deren Zusammenhang zu anderen sprachlichen Ebenen (The development of phonological awareness in preschool children and its link to other language skills). In A.V. Fox-Boyer (Ed.): Handbuch Sprachentwicklung und Sprachentwicklungsstörungen, Band 2: Vorschulalter (Handbook of Language Acquisition and Language Disorders, Volume 2, Early Childhood). München, Germany: Elsevier.

Letts, C.E., Edwards, S., Sinka, I., Schaefer, B. & Gibbons, W. (2013). Socio-Economic Status and Language Acquisition: Children's performance on the New Reynell Developmental Language Scales. International Journal of Language & Communication Disorders, 48(2), 131–143.

Schaefer, B., Fricke, S., Stackhouse, J., Wells, B., Szczerbinski, M. & Fox-Boyer, A.V. (2009). Development of a test battery for assessing phonological awareness in German-speaking children. Clinical Linguistics & Phonetics, 23(6), 404–430.

Fricke, S. & Schaefer, B. (2011). Test für phonologische Bewusstheitsfähigkeiten [Test of phonological awareness skills in German] (2nd edition). Idstein, Germany: Schulz-Kirchner Verlag.

Schaefer, B. & Fox, A.V. (2006). Der Erwerb der Wortproduktionskonsequenz bei Zweijährigen: ein Mittel zur Früherkennung von Aussprachestörungen? Sprache Stimme Gehör, 30, 186–192.