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Identifying gaps in using artificial intelligence to support students with intellectual disabilities from education and health perspectives

Faten F. Kharbat (Al Ain University, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates)
Abdallah Alshawabkeh (Al Ain University, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates)
M. Lynn Woolsey (Emirates College for Advanced Education, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates)

Aslib Journal of Information Management

ISSN: 2050-3806

Article publication date: 10 December 2020

Issue publication date: 6 January 2021




Students with developmental/intellectual disabilities (ID/DD) often have serious health issues that require additional medical care and supervision. Serious health issues also mean increased absence and additional lags in academic achievement and development of adaptive and social skills. The incorporation of artificial intelligence in the education of a child with ID/DD could ameliorate the educational, adaptive and social skill gaps that occur as a direct result of persistent health problems.


The literature regarding the use of artificial intelligence in education for students with ID/DD was collected systematically from international online databases based on specific inclusion and exclusion criteria. The collected articles were analyzed deductively, looking for the different gaps in the domain. Based on the literature, an artificial intelligence–based architecture is proposed and sketched.


The findings show that there are many gaps in supporting students with ID/DD through the utilization of artificial intelligence. Given that the majority of students with ID/DD often have serious and chronic and comorbid health conditions, the potential use of health information in artificial intelligence is even more critical. Therefore, there is a clear need to develop a system that facilitates communication and access to health information for students with ID/DD, one that provides information to caregivers and education providers, limits errors, and, therefore, improves these individuals' education and quality of life.

Practical implications

This review highlights the gap in the current literature regarding using artificial intelligence in supporting the education of students with ID/DD. There is an urgent need for an intelligent system in collaboration with the updated health information to improve the quality of services submitted for people with intellectual disabilities and as a result improving their quality of life.


This study contributes to the literature by highlighting the gaps in incorporating artificial intelligence and its service to individuals with ID/DD. The research additionally proposes a solution based on the confounding variables of students’ health and individual characteristics. This solution will provide an automated information flow as a functional diagnostic and intervention tool for teachers, caregivers and parents. It could potentially improve the educational and practical outcomes for individuals with ID/DD and, ultimately, their quality of life.



Kharbat, F.F., Alshawabkeh, A. and Woolsey, M.L. (2021), "Identifying gaps in using artificial intelligence to support students with intellectual disabilities from education and health perspectives", Aslib Journal of Information Management, Vol. 73 No. 1, pp. 101-128.



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