In Memoriam: Betty Hart, 1927-2012

Betty Hart, professor emerita at the University of Kansas and associate research professor emerita at the Schiefelbusch Institute for Life Span Studies at the university, has died at a hospice facility in Tucson, Arizona. She was 85 years old.

Hart came to the University of Kansas in the mid-1960s from the University of Washington. At the University of Kansas she collaborated with Todd Risley on research on language development in children. Their 1995 book, Meaningful Differences in the Everyday Experiences of Young Children, found that on average children in affluent homes heard 30 million more words by age 3 than children in the poorest homes. This vast difference played a major role in the children’s intellectual development.

John Colombo, director of the Life Span Institute at the University of Kansas, stated, “Betty Hart’s work contributed enormously to our understanding of the impact of the environment on the development of language in children and to the development of strategies for promoting communicative development in both typically developing children and children with disabilities.”

Filed Under: In Memoriam


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