Feature and Banner Photo by Will Marks
If you’ve never heard of it before, the “Word Gap” refers to the number of words low-income family children are exposed to compared to children from high-income families. Why does it matter? Well, the word gap can negatively affect school performance, language development, and the ability to learn new information throughout a lifetime. Language is power, and not being exposed to enough of it at an early age can have lifelong consequences.
This is precisely why Aimee Ketchum, a pediatric occupational therapist, developed a mobile app designed for these children specifically. The Word Gap App offers parents an easy and fun way to bridge the word gap and interact with their babies. Since it’s release, Aimee has advanced to the second phase in the HRSA Word Gap Challenge, and was awarded a $25,000 grant to further her work. Later this year, she will be competing against four other finalist for a $100,000 grant to potentially advance her work in ensuring every child has the linguistic foundation they deserve.