Artificial Intelligence Algorithms: Children with Learning Difficulties

Editorials News | Oct-06-2018

 Artificial Intelligence Algorithms: Children with Learning Difficulties

Every parent aspire to have intelligent and able children who will go to achieve or reach somewhere in their lives as this society of ours values intelligence on a very high scale. Therefore, children who struggle with learning along with their parents are often at risk of being stigmatized or undervalued.

The experience of a child at an early age in school sets the tone of how he/she develops a perception about their own self. Their learning experience in school plays a very important role in their future decision making, of what they dream to become. Good school and learning experiences are important as bad experiences play havoc with the self-worth of a child when he/she grows up.

There are children with mild intellectual disabilities that can go unnoticed and undiagnosed. In order to address these issues doctors, along with teachers can work in tandem to identify and understand in order to provide the best schooling and learning environment.

To better understand this problem, a team of researchers at the Cambridge University found out a way to using unsupervised machine learning in the form of artificial neural network. The researchers chose a group of 550 children as a heterogeneous sample of struggling learners. These children were referred to the Center for Attention Learning and Memory (CALM). The children were sent through a battery of cognitive and learning assessment and then sent for a structural MRI scan. The parents were asked to fill up behavior questionnaires.

Within this network of randomly selected children four groups could be identified. 1. Children with broad cognitive difficulties, which included severe reading, spelling and math problems. 2. Children with age-typical cognitive abilities and learning profiles. 3. Children with working memory problem and 4.Children with phonological difficulties.

The researchers also found that children who had trouble in math also had trouble in reading, which was an important insight as this was not recognized in the past researches. This particular method of using more novel algorithms in machine learning will help better understand, identify children with learning problems and be of great help to parents in understanding the need and managing accordingly.

By: Madhuchanda Saxena