Italian journal of clinical and psychoeducational research

Scientific Committee: Michele Zappella
Periodicity: january, may, october

Vol. 15, n. 2, 2017

Table of Contents

Michele Zappella

Editoriale

Ricerca internazionale

Natalia Edith Furland María Teresa Sindelar

Salivary IgA correlate with recurrent respiratory infections and hyperreactivity in children with autism

DOI: 10.14605/AUT1521701

Autism spectrum disorders (ASD) are characterized by impairment in social interactions, communication deficits, and restricted interests and behaviors. Accumulating evidence suggests that dysregulation of the immune system may be involved in the pathophysiology of ASD. The aim of the study was to assess if the severity of clinical and behavioral parameters of autistic children was associated with low levels of secretory IgA (sIgA) in saliva. We hypothesized that a decreased immune response in children with autism would decrease the levels of sIgA, as is the predominant antibody isotype in saliva and a marker of mucosal immunity. Saliva samples were obtained from 3-10 year-old children with ASD and age-matched typically developing Caucasian children from Patagonia region, Argentina. Autistic children with reduced levels of salivary IgA had a higher incidence of upper respiratory diseases compared to the controls. The reduction in sIgA levels also correlated inversely with the severity of the behavioral disorders. The patients with the most severe impairment in autism-related behaviors had the lowest levels of sIgA in the cohort studied. These findings suggest that sIgA could be an early indicator and possibly a biomarker of the dysregulation of the immune system in some children with autism. The characterization of immunological parameters in ASD has important implications for detection of a subset of individuals with ASD, and should be considered when designing therapeutic strategies to treat core symptoms and behavioral impairments of ASD.

Ricerca italiana

Paola Molteni Ilaria Folci Luigi d’Alonzo

Inclusion of students with autism in mainstream primary schools. An Italian study on teachers’ and educators’ perspectives

DOI: 10.14605/AUT1521702

This paper will present and explain the study, which investigated teachers’ and educators’ perspectives on inclusion of students with autism in mainstream primary schools located in the Northern Italian area of Monza and Brianza. This study is part of a wider European Erasmus Plus project named «Transform Autism Education», which lasts three years. The main goal of the study is to investigate teachers’ and educators’ views and opinions on the inclusion of students with autism, with a specific focus on training experience and needs.

Esperienze professionali

Patrizia Freddi Susanna Magnanini Elisa Bonucchi Giada Barbi Erika Rivasi Virginia Giuberti

«Cambiamo punto di vista»: A project for the inclusion of pupils with Autism Spectrum Disorder as a Caring System model

DOI: 10.14605/AUT1521703

This paper describes and evaluates the impact and effectiveness of the project «Cambiamo punto di vista»: a project for the inclusion of pupils with Autism Spectrum Disorder arranged by Istituto Comprensivo in Luzzara, Reggio Emilia, Italy. The project is deeply rooted in the methodological-operative model, proposed by the Centro Autismo of ASL Reggio Emilia and defined as a «Caring System» («Sistema Curante», Dalla Vecchia et al., 2003). It is an approach to Autism Spectrum Disorder that believes in «spiral-interaction» and constructive, expert collaboration among the different forces which interact around each child with autism and their family. The project involves initial training sessions on autism and challenging behaviour management for all teachers, and a learning-by-doing session for special needs teachers who work alongside the therapist during experimental labs. The labs were carried out with pupils individually or in small groups with their classmates or with the whole class. Moreover, at the beginning and at the end of the project, the school organised two awareness evenings about Autism for all stakeholders, from a «Caring System» point of view.

Esperienze professionali

Laura D’Alessandro Daniela Cardin Aldo Vitetta

The library experience: A pilot project for adults with autism

DOI: 10.14605/AUT1521704

Adults, Autism Spectrum Disorder, life project, autonomy, self-esteem.

Rassegne di studi

Ersilia Vallefuoco Alessandro Pepino Carmela Bravaccio

Immersive simulation tools designed for people with Autism Spectrum Disorders. 3D modelling of interactive scenarios

DOI: 10.14605/AUT1521705

Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) include a set of developmental disorders, characterised by various difficulties in relationships, communication and social inclusion. Several studies have evaluated the use of serious games as tools, alongside traditional therapeutic approaches, to encourage the development of communication, the process of learning, social behaviour and psychomotor skills in people with ASD. The proposed study aims to employ and rate the use of immersive simulation tools to strengthen and increase the learning of mathematical basics in individuals with ASD. A multidisciplinary team supported the design and development of this serious game, identifying a tester group and determining the important aspects for application development through the drafting of a planning document. The development of the prototype was supported by Unity, as game engine, and 3D Studio Max as 3D modelling software. The prototype game is designed for PCs and is currently undergoing testing with users. From the results from the first phase of testing we will be able to rate the elements to redesign for the development of this serious game and estimate initial impacts in terms of learning and skills development.

Rassegne di studi

Marinella Zingale

Assessment tools for adolescents and adults with Autism Spectrum Disorders

DOI: 10.14605/AUT1521706

Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is a neurodevelopmental disorder with a genetic basis and an early onset, which in most cases presents with lifetime features (APA, 2013). In recent years many efforts have focused on early identification of the disorder, in order to promptly implement appropriate interventions aimed at modifying its developmental paths. However, a greater attention to these disorders in adulthood is needed, since little is known about them. The presence of autistic features requires, in fact, even for adults, specific habilitative and pharmacological interventions. For this reason careful assessment through psychological and diagnostic instruments validated for adults is essential. Starting from a review of literature, the main available diagnostic tools used to support clinical observation and identify autistic features in adolescents and adults will be illustrated.