To AI or Not to AI: We Navigate this Important New Technology for People with Disabilities.Navigating the Decision Individuals with Disabilities 

To AI or Not to AI: that is the question.

As with any technology, there are risks and values of technology for all of us. Mikelle and I have been exploring using artificial intelligence in everyday life in low-risk areas.

For example, I asked AI a simple question: Can you write a letter to the country assessor protesting the significant increase in property taxes? Three seconds later, I had a well-written letter I could customize.

We asked it to help us write more interesting blogs, podcast titles, and descriptions. We need to edit most of these. But, it gives our brains a good jumpstart, much like a starter sentence prompt in a writing class. 

We did some research on new topics like this one and found it to be beneficial. You will see AI suggestions sprinkled throughout this post. 

I have learned thus far that AI is rich in facts that require verification. The suggestions have a marginal voice lacking personal flavor, which reflects us. They are generic.  Yet, offer a good starting point for understanding a topic and researching options, 

My explorations have made me wonder how Mikelle and other people with disabilities could benefit from the “careful use of AI.”

Ask the Experts

Since Mikelle and I are not experts, we decided to seek out folks who know much more than we do about the subject, which evolves daily. We contacted Jim Corey from about doing a podcast with us. 

He suggested we speak with Bryce Johnson, Co-inventor of the Xbox Adaptive Controller, Surface Adaptive Kit, and Microsoft Adaptive Accessories. Inclusive Design, Windows + Devices. We talked for an hour about how he uses AI to assist transition students in working on cover letters and resumes and job exploration. We hope to have Bryce on a podcast. 

Jim addresses how AI can support the employment journey for people with disabilities. In this episode of the Shining Beautiful Series podcast, Mikelle asks some great questions about him and our other technology expert, Shea Tanis, from the University of Kansas, on how AI can support job seekers with disabilities.

Which, as we learn more, is the secret to making AI work for you—the right question leads to the correct answers. 

The Ever-Evolving Tech Landscape

 The potential of artificial intelligence (AI) is becoming increasingly evident in transforming various aspects of our lives. However, for advocates, the realm of AI may seem daunting or even inaccessible. Yet, understanding and harnessing AI can profoundly enhance the support and opportunities available to individuals with IDD.

Embracing Inclusivity

At its core, AI promises inclusivity and accessibility. It can break down barriers and create tailored solutions for individuals with IDD. Used correctly, it can empower them to lead more independent and fulfilling lives. From personalized learning experiences to assistive technologies, AI offers many tools that can be customized to meet diverse needs and preferences.

Enhancing Communication

Communication lies at the heart of advocacy for individuals with IDD. AI-driven communication tools, such as speech recognition software and augmented communication devices, can significantly enhance communication capabilities for those with speech or language impairments. These technologies enable individuals to express themselves more effectively, fostering greater autonomy and self-expression.

Facilitating Personalized Support

One of the most remarkable aspects of AI is its ability to analyze vast amounts of data and generate personalized insights. For advocates supporting individuals with IDD, this means access to invaluable information and resources tailored to specific needs and circumstances. Whether identifying learning patterns, predicting health outcomes, or suggesting community resources, AI empowers advocates to provide more targeted and practical support.

Addressing Accessibility Challenges

Accessibility is a fundamental aspect of advocacy for individuals with IDD. AI-driven accessibility features, such as text-to-speech and image recognition, can significantly enhance access to information and services for individuals with various disabilities. By ensuring that digital platforms and technologies are inclusive by design, advocates can promote greater participation and inclusion for individuals with IDD in all aspects of society.

Ethical Considerations and Empowerment

As advocates, it’s crucial to approach the integration of AI with a robust ethical framework. Prioritize the dignity, autonomy, and well-being of individuals with IDD. Your efforts will entail actively engaging with stakeholders, including individuals with IDD. Doing this ensures that AI technologies are deployed responsibly and with their best interests in mind. Doing so creates opportunities to understand and navigate AI technologies will empower them to advocate for their needs and preferences effectively.


 At the heart of every technological innovation lies the potential to transform lives,  break down barriers, and empower individuals to reach their fullest potential. 

Mikelle and I are in the exploration stage of this technology. We seek to understand a technology that can empower us or overpower us. We want to choose how it impacts our family as much as we can.