Reclined in her office chair, Olivia Anderson put on her headphones and opened her laptop to begin working. The artificial intelligence (AI) program was open on her laptop screen. The 28-year-old marketing professional was about to 'prompt' relevant keywords to help her devise a client-plan for the coming week. As someone who has suffered a brain injury, Olivia now understands how technology can play a key role in improving cognitive skills, facilitating communication, and managing daily tasks. A year after her concussion left her struggling to perform duties at work, Olivia realized she needed assistance to organize her thoughts, remember important details, and communicate with others effectively. It was then that she discovered the potential of AI, ChatGPT, to support those having neurodiverse conditions. Through her own experiences, Olivia has now learned the importance of forging a more inclusive environment for all individuals, irrespective of their cognitive abilities.
It has become increasingly apparent in recent years that AI can be a great tool for neurodiverse and inclusive communication. As AI technology continues to take major steps forward, programs like ChatGPT have emerged to facilitate communication among people with diverse cognitive abilities. Diversity, equity, and inclusion (DE&I) are acknowledged as a key tenet in workplaces across the globe and AI-aided programs are contributing more towards an inclusive society.
Why acknowledging neurodiversity is important?
No two human beings are equal. Neurodiversity recognizes and respects natural variations in human cognition, including differences in social interaction, learning, and attention. It emphasizes that neurological differences must be acknowledged and embraced, instead of being treated as disorders. Inclusive communication, on the other hand, is the practice to ensure that all individuals can communicate and participate in different social settings.
How ChatGPT, AI and similar tools can help
During her concussion recovery, Olivia found that accessible technology played an important role in helping her continue with the daily tasks. She particularly relied on the immersive reader features and voice-to-text functions to support her reading comprehension and communication. Using voice-to-text, she was able to dictate emails and messages without straining her eyes or putting pressure on her recovery. The Immersive reader features helped her to understand and process text better by highlighting keywords, giving visual cues, and even reading the text aloud.
ChatGPT can support neurodiversity by providing assistance for personalized communication. For instance, individuals on the autism spectrum often face social interaction challenges because of difficulties understanding nonverbal cues. ChatGPT helps these individuals practice their conversational skills in a safe, non-judgmental environment. The program allows them to improve their communication ability and build confidence.
ChatGPT can also be used to support people with dyslexia, a learning disorder that affects reading and writing abilities. The program provides real-time speech-to-text and text-to-speech conversion. The program helps dyslexic people overcome challenges faced while processing written text. It allows them to access information easily and engage in conversation.
A level playing field?
While it's true that learning to write independently is a major skill that leads to better critical thinking and job success, at the same time, it's important to recognize that neurodiverse people usually require additional accommodation and support to achieve success in their academic and professional lives. Accessible technology like ChatGPT and other AI programs can become valuable tools to develop written and verbal communication skills and create a level playing field to promote greater equity and inclusion. It's important to recognize that each person has his/her unique needs, and a one-size-fits-all solution can't be equitable. A lot is being written and discussed about the potential drawbacks of AI technology and that it may be sued for cheating. Such apprehensions may not be entirely untrue. However, it can't be denied that ChatGPT and similar programs can create a more supportive and inclusive environment by leveraging technology.
Helping in job searches
Finding gainful employment is one of the biggest challenges neurodiverse people face because of their unique skills and abilities. ChatGPT can help in identifying probable job opportunities that could be a good fit for a person's skills set and interests. The program can analyze a person’s education, work experience, and other relevant information, suggesting job openings that the individual otherwise may not have been aware of. This helps in increasing the chances of neurodiverse individuals landing a job that matches their strengths and abilities.
That aside, ChatGPT can help with the actual application process. Many neurodiverse people face challenges in filling out job applications if they struggle with attention to detail. With this in mind, ChatGPT can help in reviewing and editing an applicant’s resume and cover letter, ensuring an accurate application process.
AI has the potential to open new opportunities and career paths for neurodiverse individuals. Many leading companies have put in place a recruitment policy to hire and support such talent. Some companies have even set up special training programs and job opportunities exclusively for people with neurodiversity. It's expected that AI will pave the path with innovation, personalized support, and novel career paths for people with neurodiversity.