Speech and language disorders, learning disabilities and psychological development (2019/2020)

Course code
Name of lecturer
Beatrice Bertelli
Beatrice Bertelli
Number of ECTS credits allocated
Academic sector
Language of instruction
Sem. 2A, Sem. 2B

Lesson timetable

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Learning outcomes

The course aims to provide students of the Bachelor’s degree in Education with the core knowledge and competences pertaining to cognitive and communicative antecedents of language developement, typical developement of the formal and functional components of language and learning abilities, and the relationship between oral and written language. Additionally, the course will cover the main atypical patterns in language anc communication developement and learning abilities, differentiating profiles exposed to developmental risk from clinical pathology cases.
Furthermore, this course has the purpose of enabling students to use the various competences related to language and learning in the different context they will be operating in in the future, and to apply them to the design and implementation of specific educational interventions aimed at promoting school and social integration as well as fostering inclusive environments.
To this end, besides the understanding of theoretical models, the students will have to develop competences in observational methodologies and developmental risk assessment, as well as acquire competence in effective methodologies and strategies applied to educational actions designed for subjects affected by language and learning difficulties/disorders.


The course will cover the following topics:
1) Theoretical models of typical language development and learning processes
2) Biopsychosocial approach to Developmental Disorders. Classification of the main developmental disorders with focus on Communication, Language and Learning Disorders
3) Inclusive perspective of developmental disorders, specifically of language and learning disorders, in accordance with L. 104/92 and 170/2012 and the Special Edicational Needs regulations (BES) 12/2012
4) Relation between language acquisition delays and disorders, and developmental difficulties/disorders. Characteristics of Specific Learning Disabilities (DSA) and their subcategories. Recent regulations and guidelines on diagnosis, rehabilitation interventions and educational design
5) Language, communication and learning in intellectual disability (ID), in autism spectrum disorders (ASD)and attention deficit disorders (ADHD)

Reference books
Author Title Publisher Year ISBN Note
Vicari, S. & Caselli, M.C. Neuropsicologia dell'età evolutiva Bologna: Il Mulino 2017 capitoli 4,5,6,7,9, 10,11,12,13,18,19,20
D'Amico S., De Vescovi A. Psicologia dello sviluppo del linguaggio Bologna: Il Mulino 2013 capitoli 1, 4,5,6,7, 9, 10, 11,12

Assessment methods and criteria

Students will have to demonstrate:
- an understanding of the theoretical framework and methodology in the field of developmental language psychology and particularly about typical and atypical language acquisition
- an understanding of the characteristics and main risk indicators of atypical language development in infants and children
- the ability to apply the acquired knowledge and competences to educational design practices in contexts of typical and atypical development
- the ability to articulate their arguments in an appropriate language, critically identifying and selecting the conceptual and methodological elements
- the ability to critically analyse the case studies and experiences discussed during the course as well as proficiency at using bibliographical sources
Assessment method:
The exame will be comprised of 14 multiple choice questions and 8 cloze questions (questions to complete). Test time is 1 hour.
Evaluation method:
Correct answers to multiple choice questions are worth 1 point , correct answers to cloze questions are worth 2 points. The final grade will be determined by the total score for the multiple choice questions and the cloze questions.