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According to research, over 1.5 million people in the UK have a learning difficulty. This means that children and adults who have a learning disability, which may also be combined with a physical disability, often find it difficult to communicate with others and can take longer to develop or learn new skills. With the constant advances in assistive technology, help providing the tools to build confidence, ease social situations and support people with disabilities lead independent lives, is improving.

There are a few examples of Artificial Intelligence (AI) being used to support people with learning difficulties, but the potential is great for those with more than one condition or diagnosis. AI can adapt to user’s needs, personalising experiences, adapting to their pace and explaining things in more appropriate terms. And the direct feedback available from AI gives other people – for example carers and family members – clearer insight into what works best.

Virtual Reality (VR) enables many people with learning difficulties learn and practice social skills and behaviour in a secure virtual environment. For example, MenCap have recently used VR to help people with disabilities to prepare for, and manage, the experience of going to a polling station. Through VR, inclusivity can be promoted and quality of life improved.

The Internet of Things (IoT), though still in its relative infancy, has enhanced assistive technology hugely, from shoes that vibrate in certain places to help those with visual impairment, to hearing aids paired with smoke detectors and baby alarms to alert the user, it is significantly increasing people’s ability to move independently.

And yet, though assistive technology, as it becomes more accessible, is making significant improvements to individuals’ lives, it is still in its infancy. As the technology matures, the support available to individuals will increase to the benefit and understanding of us all.


Lewis Reed Group

With over 20 years experience producing and selling wheelchair accessible vehicles in the UK, you can be sure that we can offer excellent customer service with a level of knowledge that is completely unrivalled.