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First Semester 
Teaching style
Lingua Insegnamento

Informazioni aggiuntive

Course Curriculum CFU Length(h)


The course aims to provide knowledge about Specific Learning Disorders (SLD) and Learning Difficulties (LD) related to reading, writing and mathematics.

- Know and understand the theoretical and methodological aspects related to the study of Specific Learning Disorders (SLD) and learning difficulties (LD) related to written language and mathematics.
- Know the Italian law on SLD.
- Know the methodology and the tools for analyzing and evaluating the cognitive and psychological processes involved in SLD
- Know the SLD assessment tests
- Know the SLD treatment methods
-Know the SLD technical-scientific vocabulary
- Acquire independent and critical reflection skills in relation to the quality, effectiveness and appropriateness of interventions.
- Knowing how to appropriately adapt assessment and intervention to the specific context and person.
- Be able to self-evaluate his/her own skills

Applying knowledge and understanding
The acquired knowledge will enable the student to:
- Evaluate the adequacy of the assessed learning paths
- Identify cognitive correlates, protective factors and risk factors for scholastic learning development
- Analyze, evaluate, and understand various kind of texts, scientific articles and test manuals dealing with LDS and LD.
- Be able to identify the theoretical basis underlying scientific papers and SLD assessment tests and to critically evaluate their relevance in different contexts.
- Be able to work collaboratively in multidisciplinary groups.

Communication skills
At the end of the course, the student will be able to communicate clearly and without ambiguity his/her conclusions and the learned knowledge to specialists and non-specialists

Learning skills
At the end of the course the student will be able to
- know how to find and use bibliographic and sitographic tools in order to autonomously constantly update and deepen professional knowledge and skills
- being able to autonomously studying on topics related to SLD
- acquire tools for her/his own research and professional upgrading.


It is necessary a good knowledge of psychological development stages, especially cognitive development, and of the main theoretical and methodological approaches of Developmental and Educational Psychology.


The course aims at providing knowledge on Specific Learning Disorders (SLD) as dyslexia, dysorthography, dysgraphia, reading comprehension disorder, text production disorder, dyscalculia, difficulty with solving mathematical word problems.
In the course will be discussed:
- Definitions, diagnostic criteria and classifications of SLDs.
- Multifactorial neuropsychological hypotheses on the causes and development of DSA,
- The asessemt tests used for DSA evaluation
- The legislation in force in Italy on DSA
- The emotional-relational aspects that accompany SLDs.
- The treatment methods, with particular attention to the relationship and cooperation with families, educational institutions and school teachers.
- The relationships between central concepts of developmental psychology and neuropsychology (such as self-esteem, perceived self-efficacy, attention, inhibitory control, emotional regulation, cognitive flexibility and working memory) and learning difficulties will be discussed. Practical activities to train these basic skills in a SLD context will be examined.
- A monographic part, with exercises, it will be dedicated to the assessment of reading difficulties in the very early stages of schooling.

Teaching Methods

Classroom lessons.
Given the Covid-19 pandemic, live streaming lessons or recordings of the same available online will be provided.

Verification of learning

For both attending and non-attending students the evaluation consists of a 45-minute written exam on the main course topics (see "Content" section.), with a part of multiple-choice questions (22 questions) and three open-ended questions. The exam verifies the objectives set out in the section "Knowledge and understanding skills".
Consideration will be given to the correctness of the answers given to the multiple-choice and open-ended questions. In the answers to the open-ended questions, the ability to write in a syntactically correct way, the appropriate use of the terminology belonging to the discipline and the ability to summarize will be taken into consideration.
Only exams that have been answered sufficiently for at least one open question will be assessed.
The score of the exam is assigned by a vote expressed in thirtieths.
To pass the exam, then report a grade not lower than 18/30, the student must demonstrate that he has acquired sufficient knowledge of the topics covered during the course, using an appropriate language.
To achieve a score of 30/30 cum laude, the student must demonstrate that he/her has acquired excellent knowledge of all the topics covered during the course enriched by critical ideas.
Given the Covid-19 pandemic, depending on the health advice the exam can be carried out remotely using the Moodle platform.


Course readings:
1) Cesare Cornoldi (a cura di) (2019) I disturbi dell’apprendimento. Bologna: Il Mulino. Esclusi i capitoli: IX, X e XI.

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

3) D'Amico S. e Devescovi A. (2013) Psicologia dello sviluppo del linguaggio. Bologna: Il Mulino. Solo il capitolo 9: La lingua scritta (da pagina 231 a pagina 256)

Foreign students (Erasmus, non-European Mobility) can ask for a Bibliography in other languages, if their language skills are not good enough to carry out their studies in Italian. For specific information they should address an e-mail to

More Information

Copies of the handbooks are available at “Dante Alighieri” library.

The lecturer is available during office hours for additional information and clarifications about program and exam. Office hours schedule can be found on the lecturer webpage, regularly updated.
Non-attending students are invited to refer to the website and to email the lecturer in order to clarify any doubts regarding their self-study.
Students with special needs may benefit from the Disabled Office ( that certifies their difficulties in order to arrange individualized programs and exams.

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