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CODE 67728
CREDITS 8 credits during the 5th year of 9322 TEACHER EDUCATION (LM-85 bis) GENOVA
SEMESTER 2° Semester
You can take the exam for this unit if you passed the following exam(s):
  • Psychological Sciences and Techniques 8751 (coorte 2017/2018)
MODULES This unit is a module of:


The main objective of the course is to contribute to the training of professionals in the field of developmental disorders, who will recognize the dynamic nature of the acquisitions in this area and learn to identify bias and stereotypes.



The course aims to introduce the concepts of disability, developmental disorders, inclusion, and their evolution over time; to examine various manifestations of atypical development on the basis of classical and recent studies; to address the theme of the interventions in the light of the underlying theories and possible application in the school context. Constant reference will be made to the role of the context, with particular attention to the school, and to its possible interactions with individual developmental trajectories. The topic of learning disabilities will be explored in depth.


In details, the specific aims are: a) to introduce the concepts of developmental disorders and disabilities, highlighting their historical evolution, and providing examples related to the students’ experiences; b) to present basic knowledge on the main developmental disorders, their characteristics and known causes, also highlighting the in-progress nature of some knowledge; c) to provide for each type of disability/disorder a picture of the state of art in psychological research; d) to promote the understanding of the relationship between theories, research findings, and assessment and intervention strategies; e) to promote the understanding of the relationship between disability and major life contexts, with particular attention to the school context and to the principles of an inclusive education; f) to analyse in depth learning disorders, with a focus on learning assessment tools and intervention strategies for teachers; g) to support the choice of a specific topic.

At the end of the course students are expected:

a. to acquire the knowledge related to the different the types of disorder

b. to understand the relationship among theoretical approaches, research results, assessment tools and intervention strategies

c. to know how to compare different points of view, highlighting the strengths and weaknesses of the different approaches

d. to use an appropriate language, avoiding judgement and stigmatisation, in presenting the contents of the discipline

e. to apply learning contents in planning interventions in school


At present, it is not yet known with certainty whether the course will be held in full or in part in the presence. The structure of the course and the teaching methods will in any case be the same, even if using the different means available in the classroom or remotely.

Before starting the course, the teacher will upload one or more questionnaires on expectations and knowledge on aulaweb that will serve as a basis for shared reflection and refine the course setting.

The first part of the course will consist mainly in frontal lectures, with constant attention to stimulating requests for clarification and in-depth learning. Results of research, case studies and viewing of films will be used in order to stimulate to stimulate moments of discussion and facilitate links between theory and practice. Moreover, individual exercises  will be organized in order to stimulate an active participation of the students and to give them feedback regarding their understanding and interpretation of the topics.

During the lectures on learning disabilities at school, team work and case discussion will be employed.




Functioning, disability and environmental factors: definition and boundaries according to the WHO classifications.

Icf and developmental profile

The types of disorder/disability: sensory; motor; intellectual disability; autism spectrum disorders;  attention deficit hyperactivity disorders:

  • The medical diagnosis. Causal factors: genetic, pre-natal, peri-natal and post-natal.
  • Cognitive, social, language, emotional-affective development and risk factors.
  • Rehabilitation and educational interventions, with particular reference to the role of the school and of inclusive education.

The life contexts of disabled people: family, school, work environment.

Learning disabilities: theoretical models and intervention strategies at school for reading, writing, and mathematical skills.



Compulsory textbooks

M. Zanobini, M.C. Usai, Psicologia della disabilità e dei disturbi delle sviluppo. Elementi di riabilitazione e d'intervento. Nuova Edizione aggiornata, Franco Angeli, Milano, 2019.


AA.VV., Le Guide Erickson: Dislessia e altri DSA a scuola. Strategie efficaci per gli insegnanti, Erickson, Trento, 2018 (chapters recommended during the course).

Open choice textbooks

Choose a textbook among one of the following topics:

1. Diagnosis and classifications

Zanobini M., Viterbori P., Scopesi A.M. (2015), Le difficoltà e i disturbi del linguaggio attraverso le lenti dell’ICF, Milano, Franco Angeli.


R. Vianello e I.C. Mammarella, Psicologia delle disabilità. Una prospettiva life span, Edizioni Junior, Parma, 2015.

2. The development of visually impaired children

C. Martinoli, E. Delpino, Manuale di riabilitazione visiva per ciechi e ipovedenti, Angeli, Milano, 2009.


Brambring, Lo sviluppo nei bambini non vedenti. Osservazione e intervento precoce, Franco Angeli, Milano, 2011.

3. The development of hearing impaired children

Basili, C. Lanzara, M. Zanobini, Il metodo Drežančić nei bambini dai primi mesi di vita ai tre anni. Guida all’utilizzo delle prime stimolazioni, dei giochi fonici e dei primi vocaboli, Giunti O.S., Firenze, 2011.


O. Liverta Sempio, A. Marchetti, F. Lecciso, S. Petrocchi, Competenza sociale e affetti nel bambino sordo, Carocci, Roma, 2006.

3. Autism spectrum disorders

F.R. Volkmar, Disturbi dello spettro autistico, Edra, 2020.


S. Leopizzi, P. Vicari, S. Solari, Autismo e acquaticità. Esperienze e percorsi educativi. Erickson, Trento, 2010.


M. Arduino, Il bambino che parlava con la luce. Quattro storie di autismo, Einaudi, 2014.

4.intellectual Disabilities and rare syndromes

R. Vianello, Potenziali di sviluppo e di apprendimento nelle disabilità intellettive, Erickson, Trento, 2012.


R. Vianello, Fra normalità e disabilità intellettiva lieve: come intervenire, Giunti Edu, Firenze, 2019.


L. Marotta, D. Menghini, S. Vicari (a cura di), Lettura, scrittura e calcolo nella sindrome di Down. Percorsi di intervento, Erickson, Trento, 2011.


S. Maggiolini, Le sindromi genetiche rare. Percorsi educativi, Ed. Junior, Bergamo, 2011.


D. Menghini, S. Vicari, Deficit di attenzione e iperattività, Carocci, Roma, 2020.

6. The life contexts

S. Di Nuovo, Alunni speciali, bisogni speciali. Interventi psicologici per i BES, Il Mulino, Bologna, 2018.


A Morganti, L'insegnante efficace. Promuovere le competenze socioemotive per l'inclusione, Carocci Faber, Roma, 2018.

Supplementary material

Attendant students will find slides and other Didactic material on Aulaweb.

STUDENTS WHO DON'T ATTEND THE COURSE (for documented work reasons)

Compulsory textbook

M. Zanobini, M.C. Usai, Psicologia della disabilità e dei disturbi delle sviluppo. Elementi di riabilitazione e d'intervento. Nuova Edizione aggiornata, Franco Angeli, Milano, 2019.


AA.VV., Le Guide Erickson: Dislessia e altri DSA a scuola. Strategie efficaci per gli insegnanti, Erickson, Trento, 2018.


Open choice textbooks

Choose TWO textbooks among TWO of the previously listed topics


For students who will take the exam in English:

D. Goodley, Disability studies. An interdisciplinary introduction: second edition, Sage Publishing, 2016.

Two texts chosen from the following list:

- M. Marschark, P.C. Hauser, How deaf children learn: What parents and teachers need to know. Oxford University Press, Oxford - New York, 2012.

- S. D’Alessio, Inclusive Education in Italy. A critical analysis of the policy of integrazione scolastica, Sense Publisher, Rotterdam, 2011.

- C. Nilholm, Research about inclusive education in 2020 – How can we improve our theories in order to change practice?, European Journal of Special Needs Education,, 2020.                                                              and 

G. Vivanti, M. Prior, K. Williams, C. Dissanayake, Predictors of outcomes in autism early intervention: why don’t we know more? Frontiers in Pediatrics, Child and Neurodevelopmental Psychiatry, 2, 2014.

O.K. de Camargo, L. S., G. M. Ronen, P. L. Rosenbaum, ICF: A Hands-on Approach for Clinicians and Families, Practical Guides from Mac Keith Press, 2019.


Exam Board


ANGELO BEDIN (President Substitute)



February the 23th, 2022



For attending students (at least 70% attendance) it will be scheduled a written evaluation in itinere on the compulsory textbooks and an oral examination on the chosen text.

For non-attending students (for documented work reasons) it will be scheduled an oral evaluation covering the entire program. 

REPEAT EXAM: Students can attend the exams after regular registration without restrictions in every official sessions. Non-official sessions will NOT be scheduled.

We recommend students who fail the exam more than once to take an appointment with the professor, in order to plan the best study strategies together.


The written exam will consist of multiple-choice questions, open-ended questions, and completion tasks, in order to assess text comprehension, acquired knowledge, oral presentation skills, selection of relevant information, and ability to synthesize. The oral test will assess the ability to analyze topics in-depth and critically interrelate the different sources of knowledge.

The oral examination will evaluate text comprehension, acquired knowledge, oral presentation skills, selection of relevant information. It will also be considered the ability to analyze topics in-depth and critically interrelate the different sources of knowledge.



Exam schedule

Date Time Location Type Notes
21/01/2022 08:30 GENOVA Orale
03/02/2022 08:30 GENOVA Orale
17/02/2022 08:30 GENOVA Orale
19/05/2022 08:30 GENOVA Orale
09/06/2022 08:30 GENOVA Orale
30/06/2022 08:30 GENOVA Orale
14/07/2022 08:30 GENOVA Orale
15/09/2022 08:30 GENOVA Orale


All the students MUST visit the Aulaweb page ( regularly. All the information and materials related to this course are exclusively published on this website.

Any shifts in lectures timetable or office hours will be announced on aulaweb.

Students with DSA, disability or other special educational needs are recommended to contact the teacher at the beginning of the course, in order to organize teaching and assessment, taking in account both the class aims and the student's needs and providing suitable compensatory instruments.

Thesis requests must be made at students’ office hours or by appointment.

The thematic areas for the thesis can cover any topic of the course. Students are encouraged to make specific proposals, accompanied by a bibliography.