Psychology of disabilities and integration - Psicologia della disabilità (2015/2016)

Course partially running (all years except the first)

Course code
Name of lecturer
Marinella Majorano
Number of ECTS credits allocated
Academic sector
Language of instruction
Sem . IA dal Sep 28, 2015 al Oct 31, 2015.

To show the organization of the course that includes this module, follow this link * Course organization

Lesson timetable

Learning outcomes

The course aims to provide a basic understanding of the theoretical and methodological issues related to the learning processes of preschool and school-age children with disabilities and special educational needs and to provide a basic knowledge of the risk indicators of difficulties or delays in these processes.
Specifically, the expected learning outcomes are as follows:
1) knowledge and understanding of the development models of specific learning and communication processes in children with disabilities and special educational needs; knowledge and understanding of prerequisite of learning (verbal and non verbal) and of memory and attention in learning development;
2) the ability to critically adopt an integrated approach to the educational processs, taking into account the relationship between biological functions, the characteristics of the school environment (education, teaching methods, the class group and the wider school setting) and the other contextual factors in shaping the learning processes, as proposed by the ICF approach;
3) the ability to apply the knowledge acquired in the process of observation and in planning educational programmes in various contexts, particularly for children with disabilities and/or special educational needs.


The first part of the course considers the basic mechanisms of the learning and communicating processes in children with disabilities. An inclusive approach is considered which focuses on the the effect of the complex interaction between biological and environmental factors on the learning process. More detailed knowledge and understanding are offered of the specific characteristics of disabilities and/or special educational needs.
The second part of the course considers the role of context variables in educational processes at different levels (teaching programmes, class groups, school context, family), with reference to the ICF approach, taking into account the interaction between cognitive, socio-emotional and motivational factors in the learning process. It then explores the theme of observation and educational planning in relation to particular disabilities and/or special educational needs.
The lectures are supported by visual materials and will include discussion sessions in which the students will analyse research videos that illustrate the concepts and issues addressed.

Assessment methods and criteria

The Psychology of Disability and Inclusion exam will consist of a written test only. The student will have 2 hours to answer six open questions: three questions about the Psychology of Disability, and three questions about the Psychology of Inclusion.

Exam texts
Preparation for the Psychology of Disability exam includes studying the following monographs:
Ianes, D. (2005). Bisogni Educativi Speciali e inclusione. Trento: Ed Erickson.
Cornoldi. C. (2013). Le difficoltà di apprendimento a scuola. Bologna: il Mulino.
Orsolini, M., Fanari, R., Maronato, C. (2006). Difficoltà di lettura nei bambini. Bologna: Carocci.