Italian journal of clinical and applicational research

Scientific Committee: Giacomo Stella e Enrico Savelli
Periodicity: january, may, october

Vol. 14, n. 1, 2017

Table of Contents

Enrico Savelli Giacomo Stella


There are different forms of learning and in recent years psychology and neuroscience have attempted to analyse the cognitive mechanisms and the neural bases of different types of learning processes. Starting from the distinction between automatic and controlled processes, dichotomous categories of learning have been proposed. The dichotomies between explicit processes (present to consciousness) and implicit ones (occurring without the subject’s awareness) or between declarative memory (which can be expressed verbally or otherwise) and procedural memory (which manifests itself in the execution of various activities) are not, however, able to explain all the complexities of learning phenomena and its alterations. The application of these interpretative categories to dysfunctional situations such as specific learning disabilities is a very exciting field of research. Specifically, the theories of procedural deficit or automatisation deficit have been proposed as a mechanism at the base of neurodevelopmental disorders, and could be a source of major impact on educational practices, in a new integrative view of knowledge from neurosciences, psychology and educational sciences. This review analyses a portion of the vast literature on this subject, trying to draw conclusive considerations but also highlighting the persistent critical areas of the dynamic relationships between different forms of learning, their different roles depending on the type of materials and tasks (e.g. reading vs. language), and the persistent lack of explanation of the intermediate steps in the chain of events leading up to the disorder, all areas that require further research.

Orientamenti della ricerca

Beatrice Capitelli Claudia Riva Angela Rezzonico Sergio Curti

Learning to read and write in English vehicular teaching contexts. Evaluation of students at the end of primary years 2 and 3

DOI: 10.14605/DIS1411702

The term «vehicular teaching» refers to any didactic learning experience that provides a learning path in a language other than the first language or the official school language within the curriculum. Several parents, but also some teachers, still raise concerns, believing that this teaching method can result in learning difficulties. This study aims to investigate how exposure to English as a vehicular language and environmental stimulation influence the acquisition of reading and writing skills, considering the parameters of speed, accuracy and comprehension in reading, and accuracy in writing.

Orientamenti della ricerca

Veronica Marrocu Enrico Savelli

Representational Redescription in the acquisition of spelling ability

DOI: 10.14605/DIS1411703

Writing ability is a complex process, which generally involves a coordinated sequence of processing stages: the application of auditory/phonological analysis, knowledge and application of phoneme/grapheme conversion rules, the acquisition of specific spelling rules and the implementation of musculoskeletal action schemes. The acquisition and coordination of these skills requires a series of implicit processes that become progressively more explicit and conscious. Based on the Representational Redescription (RR) model proposed by Karmiloff-Smith (1992), we attempted to ascertain whether the RR process came into play in children’s learning of writing, highlighting how much and when implicit or explicit knowledge is involved during the learning of this skill and how long the evolving of its automatisation coincides with a relaxation of the hypothetical stiffness of the system in the initial stages, and therefore the progressive ability to voluntarily manipulate processes. In our work, a dictated test was administered to 262 children attending primary years 2, 3, 4 and 5, asking them to voluntarily make mistakes. We then made cognitive-linguistic analysis of the voluntary and spontaneous errors of each child and a comparison between the performances of the various school years in order to see the trend of cognitive flexibility and its relationship with the automatisation of processes. The results show that RR processes actually exist also in the acquisition and evolution of writing skills, with the detection of different representational levels depending on the age group. We therefore discovered that with age, the system relaxes and representations regarding the orthographic processes disengage from the constraints observed in the early stages of learning.

Orientamenti della ricerca

Monica Picasso Gian Marco Marzocchi

Well-being at school and beyond in children with a learning disability: A review

DOI: 10.14605/DIS1411704

This review aims to examine the effects of a learning disability on the well-being of pupils who present development disorders, namely LD. This analysis was carried out in order to understand what individuals with learning disabilities consider important and essential to be happy and satisfied with their lives. Emotional well-being proved to be the most affected area, and for this reason detailed analysis on this specific topic was carried out. The studies presented here also emphasised the importance of the family and the family’s well-being for an individual’s well-being, since family members significantly influence each other.

Strumenti applicativi

Stefania Brotto Arturo Orsini Lina Pezzuti

The WISC-IV scale in a group of children with SLD

DOI: 10.14605/DIS1411705

The Italian version of the Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children − 4th Edition (WISC-IV) was administered to a clinical sample of 51 children with diagnoses of learning disabilities: specifically there was one sub-sample of only dyslexia, another one with dyslexia and other disabilities (dysorthography, dysgraphia, dyscalculia) and a third sub-sample of participants without dyslexia but with dysorthography, dysgraphia, dyscalculia. The clinical sample was compared with a match-paired group sample made up of 51 disability-free children. Comparisons between these groups and the standardisation sample were performed for all the core and optional WISC-IV indices. Results indicated that the two clinical samples with dyslexia performed worse than the matched-paired sample on Working Memory, Processing Speed Indexes, FSIQ and Cognitive Proficiency Index. In addition, the group with the dyslexic subjects had a higher GAI higher, and their CPI was lower when compared to the matched-paired sample. Patients with a diagnosis without the presence of dyslexia were similar to the matched-paired sample.

Strumenti applicativi

Itala Riccardi Ripamonti Barbara Cividati Valentina Russo Alberto Zerbini Katia Federico

VCLA-Phrases − Assessment of Higher Language Competencies. A language test for secondary school

DOI: 10.14605/DIS1411706

The number of students (in their last years of primary/early secondary school) reporting to the clinic for learning disabilities is constantly increasing. Specifically, students manifest difficulties in speaking about/understanding a text, which become evident only with the increase of requests by the school. This was what induced the AA to draw up and standardise a test, which could identify limitations in language skills, which in turn can be reasonably attributed to an innate predisposition towards languages (linguistic sensitivity). The test was administered to 313 students of primary school (from years 3 to 5) and secondary school (years 1 and 2) and then to a population of students with SLD (131) belonging to the same school year. The results showed that the performance of the SLD group was considerably lower than that of the control group. The difficulties that came out are concentrated in specific areas (pronouns, adversative conjunctions, prepositions, verb forms); all very useful information to start targeted treatment.


Arcangela Carli Donatella Palmieri Roberto Paolucci Italia Pietrangelo

The Personalised Education Plan between clinics, didactics and application

DOI: 10.14605/DIS1411707

This study originates from the need to verify the doubts expressed by parents from the AID section of Pescara regarding the actual application of the Personalised Education Plan (PEP), the cornerstone of law 170/2010, which parents affirm as being «well written but the majority of teachers do not comply with it despite accurate participation in its drafting». The study considered the construction and concretisation process of the PEP, starting from analysis of the instructions included in the diagnosis and the PEP, from their comparison and, from the information provided by questionnaires given to the 26 subjects of the sample on the use of the tools provided. This work enabled us to explore the guarantees and limits that accompany the concrete realisation of the Personalised Education Plan and to validate the doubts expressed by parents.


Stefano Calzolari Giulia Fronza

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