What Generative AI Could Mean for People with Intellectual Disabilities

My Daughter’s Journey So Far…

Seth Underwood
Raising a Beautiful Mind
6 min readNov 3, 2023


By Irina, Generated with AI, Licensed through Adobe Stock by Author (image choosen because of the significance of the flower’s name)

Being a parent to a child with VCFS/DiGeorge’s, I’ve witnessed the challenges they face head-on. The journey can be a rocky one, with medical problems galore.

My daughter had to undergo two open heart surgeries within her first year of life, which cost over $2 million.

So high were these bills that I was the only employee in the history of the business I worked for to ever trigger emergency spending cap limits. This is where the insurance company comes to the business for a quick injection of cash to cover the sudden costs to the pool. I only found this out through a casual mention in an elevator by one of the senior staff because I worked in accounting. Lucky for me, they didn’t know it was my kid.

However, as they grow up and move towards adolescence, the challenges can shift from medical needs to social adaptations. In my daughter’s case, her unique genetic makeup has led to intellectual disabilities that limit her from many job opportunities.

But I’m excited about the possibilities that generative AI presents for her. With AI as a tool, my daughter could receive a valuable leg up, bridging the gap between her and her peers. As an advocate for her and other kids like her, I hope that technology will help them gain new opportunities.

Turning Eighteen

But now that our daughter is reaching the age of 18, we are past most of the major medical problems and heading into transition into adulthood.

This is where the fun begins, where she must get a job, secure social security disability income (SSDI), and Medicaid.

The problem is she has major deficits not just in speaking, but in things like English and math.

This is where generative AI could come to help.

Generative AI can help people like my daughter communicate and learn by creating personalized tools and platforms that are tailored to her individual needs.

These tools can help her communicate more easily, learn new skills, and improve her general academic and job performance.

My Daughter’s Current Education

The problem is none of her current public education has ever focused on programming or using these new technologies. They’ve tried to mainstream her with disastrous results, including trying to teach her Spanish. She has trouble with English, her primary language. What good is it to try Spanish?

Last year alone was so bad that she developed an anxiety disorder that caused migraines. The school notified us about her frequent absences, but she is not required to adhere to the state law since she is not seeking a diploma. I’m now getting the County’s ombudsman involved. My wife and I blame the pandemic for all this bureaucracy with attendance.

Right now, the school’s work program has her packing apples into bags for a homeless shelter, and she’s not even getting paid for it. I’m not saying such a task isn’t needed, but I want more for my child.

During the pandemic, our daughter excelled in the public school’s online education. But when the system kept the option, they never integrated it with the special education department. So, we had to pull her from the program so she could get services.

My Daughter’s Skill Set

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had to fix her phone or tablet. And it’s not an easy fix. I must draw on a lot of technical skills and Google searches for them. I honestly fear one day she’ll hack into the pentagon by accident.

Since she was little, the County disability teams have given her communication technology. All these systems are computer based. She’s used to working around computers and navigating online. The concept comes naturally to her, almost as if it is intuitive.

My daughter’s skills remind me of the 2016 movie the Accountant with Ben Affleck where Alison Wright plays Justine, an autistic girl, who provides incredible computer support to Ben Affleck’s character.

With the new group assigned by the State’s Developmental Disabilities Administration, I hope they can teach her how to use such systems.

About Generative AI

As an author, I’ve worked with generative AI systems. Not only have I worked with ChatGPT but also Google’s Bard and I’ve used Jasper. I have minor degrees in Computer Technology and electronics, so I’m familiar with many computer concepts. My main degree is in accounting, so I understand analytics.

With integrating Google Bard into their primary search engine, it’s no wonder why researchers are excited about its generative AI capabilities. Not only does it provide source links for each result, but it also has the potential to generate new content and answer complex questions.

However, there are still concerns about the accuracy of the information provided by generative AI. It’s important to be vigilant in fact-checking and to use multiple sources when conducting research to ensure the validity and reliability of the information retrieved. Despite the doubts, Google Bard and ChatGPT remain valuable tools for those in search of information.

But with Jasper, someone like my daughter, who has limited English but can type, could use it to build a story that’s on par grammatically with “normal” people. This means she could compete in the writing market with other writers.

She could then potentially earn some income that wouldn’t jeopardize her SSDI and allow her to live at home.

The same is true for using generative AI to build code for computer games that she could sell on Steam.

As generative AI increases in ability, she might produce complete YouTube videos on topics with a few inputs.

Current Issues with Generative AI

The US Copyright office has recently asked for public input about generative AI. This conversation is crucial as ongoing legal cases continue to shape the narrative around generative AI systems.

While ownership remains a hotly contested topic, my perspective is focused on a few specific areas of concern.

First, there’s the question of the source material for language models and how it may affect output.

Second, the very issue of ownership is in question.

Last, I worry about the consumer bias that we frequently see in the book industry and how it could affect the adoption of generative AI.

As an advocate for using AI in writing especially for people with intellectual disabilities, I have seen firsthand how systems like Jasper can help guide writers towards more detailed prompts for better output, but we need to ensure that bias doesn’t impede selecting new authors over proven favorites.

This is where public advocacy for communities, like those with intellectual disabilities, can go a long way in helping to disarm that bias. This would be like how the book publishing industry today is advocating for more authors from the LGBTQ+ and BIPOC communities. I might be mistaken, but I don’t think the intellectual disabilities community would face political controversy over book banning.

In Conclusion

I am bursting with excitement over the potential of generative AI technology for those with intellectual disabilities, like my daughter. As a parent, my heart swells at the thought of finally providing a competitive edge against so-called “normal” writers, programmers, and artists.

Arguably, we need to be the foremost advocates for generative AI in society to ensure that this technology is not killed off and that our children are not shut out of the potential it offers.

By embracing this tool, we can help our loved ones jump over the creative barriers that have impeded them for far too long. Let’s lead the charge in promoting this powerful technology and unlock a world of artistic and intellectual potential for all people, including those with disabilities.



Seth Underwood
Raising a Beautiful Mind

54+ autistic, undiagnosed dyslexic, sufferer of chronic migraines, writer of dark science fiction, player of video games and Mike Pondsmith Fan. Race- Human.