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CODE 67728
  • 8 cfu during the 5th year of 9322 SCIENZE DELLA FORMAZIONE PRIMARIA (LM-85 bis) - GENOVA
    LANGUAGE Italian
  • SEMESTER 2° Semester
    You can take the exam for this unit if you passed the following exam(s):
    • Psychological Sciences and Techniques 8751 (coorte 2018/2019)
    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.



    To present basic psycological knowledge in the field of developmental disorders and disabilities.


    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



    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 for all students

    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 

    M. Orsolini (a cura di), Pensando si impara. Stimolare l'attenzione, le funzioni esecutive e la memoria di lavoro nei bambini con bisogni educativi speciali, Franco Angeli, Milano, 2019.

    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

    MARIA CARMEN USAI (President)

    ANGELO BEDIN (President Substitute)

    LAURA TRAVERSO (President Substitute)




    For all students, the final exam consists of a written test with open and multiple-choice questions. There is also an optional oral exam in case the written test achieves a low grade.

    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 teacher, 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
    10/01/2023 14:00 GENOVA Scritto
    24/01/2023 14:00 GENOVA Scritto
    07/02/2023 14:00 GENOVA Scritto
    16/05/2023 09:00 GENOVA Scritto
    30/05/2023 09:00 GENOVA Scritto
    20/06/2023 09:00 GENOVA Scritto
    10/07/2023 09:00 GENOVA Scritto
    11/09/2023 09:00 GENOVA Scritto


    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.