The Role Of Artificial Intelligence In Supporting Special Education

Technology has advanced manifolds and is even catering to the needs of children with special needs. It is expected that Artificial Intelligence or AI will change the way humans learn and especially for those needing more attention in education.

Learning can take place through different processes and means. According to science, learning takes place at different levels too like biological, neural, social, and psychological. Observation is an essential part of learning. Technology integration in our education system is now deeply seeped, and in the days ahead, it will increase.

Artificial intelligence can be defined as machines performing activities supported by active thinking from humans. AI is not algorithm dependent and is used to assist people. Some AI-based tools, like page calculator, are helping teachers correct papers quickly.

We will further explore how AI is catering to the needs of special children and bringing about a change.

AI offers a personalized approach

Children with special needs require a different level of engagement. They need to follow different learning methodologies and a highly personalised approach. With the involvement of AI, new methods can be used to plan lessons based on special requirements. This is because all students will have different issues which cannot be put at the same level. When supported with a specific ability, students will feel more supported.

Increase in the child’s attention span

Children with special needs can easily associate with AI as they can easily respond to the numerous stimuli they engage with. With the incorporation of AI in the learning environment, students get a hands-on approach. Students can experience simulations and also learn through real-time examples. Students will be more attentive and have an in-depth understanding of the subject.

Catering to the individual needs of a special child

Every special child has different educational needs. With the help of AI technology, one can reach to their full potential as AI technology is adaptive. The problem areas can be well-focused. Adding AI to traditional teaching methods provides new experiences for students. It addresses all the pain points and promotes pedagogical research. AI can easily recognise the skill gaps and curate educational content and curriculum.

Building a parallel model on individual skill

After identifying the skills, AI can bring vocational training for children with special needs. Special children might have difficulty seeing, hearing and understanding a teacher’s lesson plan. If there are any cognitive disabilities like hearing and visual impairment.

Students will have difficulties in being a part of the traditional classrooms and find it to be a very challenging experience. They might have issues following the lessons, instructions and textbooks. All the time, they require personal assistance to handle the stress.

A learning environment must be created which is specially designed for them. The one-size-fits approach is not conducive for all. With the inclusion of AI-related tools, students with impairments and disabilities can turn into self-paced learners.

The interface of AI is vast and varied. Some of the benefits are mentioned below:

  • It provides the interface for accessible and inclusive education.
  • Assistive learning technologies backed by theoretical perspectives enhance lesson plans.
  • Complete support from robotic mentors and educational chatbots.
  • Promoting adaptive and augmented learning.
  • AI speech recognition technology offers a better learning experience.
  • Creating a game-based learning environment.
  • Learning with simulations.
  • Using assistive technology for sociocultural practices.

When students with special abilities are well supported, then the rates of dropouts get significantly low. The educational barriers are removed too. Some of the AI-enabled devices also offer proofreading services.

Advanced speech synthesis technology

The machine learning modes are based on assistive technology. Some Educational Testing Services, or ETS, enhance the user experience for students with disabilities. It reduces the turnaround time for producing the alternate format material. Students are exposed to a natural and clear text-to-speech voice.

Describing images for the legally blind or those with low vision is possible. AI can automatically define ideas and offer refined content based on the description quality. All the content is written from scratch.

For visual disability, the AI-based tool helps in interaction. Tools like Apple Siri, Amazon Echo and Alexa interact through spoken dialogue. Through significant ways, the AI feature can expand.

  • The virtual assistants can read out loud, anything on the page
  • Students with special needs get an idea of how the page is structured and when to move next.
  • The content description is apt.

What are the challenges and possibilities of AI-based learning for students with special needs?

It is seen that AI-based design and development are focused on the needs and behaviour of an average user. Those with special needs or disabilities need to experience a design perspective. Take, for instance, the Automatic Speech Pattern or the ASR system. It is usually optimised around common speech patterns and not around those people facing speech disabilities. Those who put their focus on  ASR systems might be at a disadvantage in education.

But AI also seems to offer a lot of positive promises for students with special needs. The ASR system might provide error-free closed captioning instead of approximations. It might also allow people with disabilities to have complete control of the environment. This can be possible both at home and the workplace too.

However, full-scale automation is still impractical and might take some time. AI will improve accessibility, and students with special needs might get exposure to rich learning opportunities.

Education for children with special needs is to be taught via a multisensory approach. Educators need to bring in cooperative learning. Integration of AI will facilitate the inclusion of all students and bridge the learning gaps too.

Author Bio: Sarah Mathew is a teacher at a school in Australia. She is also a part of and provides students with proofreading services. Sarah is a sports enthusiast and, in her free time, likes to involve in playing badminton.

Spread the love