Italian journal of clinical and applicational research

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

Vol. 15, n. 2, 2018

Table of Contents

Giacomo Stella, Enrico Savelli


Orientamenti della ricerca

Itala Riccardi Ripamonti, Barbara Cividati, Alberto Zerbini, Katia Federico

Specific Language Disorder: Clinical reflections on its evolution and on its comorbidity with Specific Learning Disorder

DOI: 10.14605/DIS1521801

This article reflects on the potential comorbidity between Specific Learning Disorder and language difficulties. In particular, reference is made to those Language Disorders which are not exposed at preschool age or in any case go untreated and apparently disappear on starting primary school. Often these difficulties arise when children are faced with written tasks, especially informative ones. This occurs from 8/9 years of age and maybe not even until the secondary school age bracket, where even oral and written production require a processing of content, meaning that mnemonic learning is therefore no longer sufficient. Instead, the integration between linguistic and cognitive skills is necessary. Nevertheless, problems are often not so severe and are only reported by the school when they interfere with school learning. The authors also provide suggestions on language tests and rehabilitation activities suitable for identifying a language difficulty that manifests at a higher level (at secondary school).

Orientamenti della ricerca

Roberto Padovani, Elena Odorici, Valentina Graziosi, Beatrice Bertelli, Maria Iadevaia, Maria Francesca Bellei, Daniela Mancini, Olga Roccalberti, Federica Vecchietti, Alfia Valenti, Christine Cavallari, Monica Cavazzoni

Validation of the syllabic method for teaching reading and writing in primary schools

DOI: 10.14605/DIS1521802

We are presenting a validation study to assess the efficacy of the «syllabic method» for teaching reading and writing abilities in the area of Modena (Italy). Two groups of typically developing children attending their first year of primary school participated in the study: in the experimental group (n = 79) reading and writing were approached with the syllabic method proposed by Bertelli, Belli, Castagna and Cremonesi (2013), whilst in the control group (n = 59) a standard teaching method was used (based on phoneme-to-grapheme instructions). To monitor and measure reading and writing achievement different tasks were proposed: a novel task with 20 words to read and write, and classic tests of reading and writing commonly used in clinical practice (speed and accuracy of reading a passage, text comprehension and spelling). Results show that the experimental group of children significantly outperformed the control group in terms of speed and accuracy of reading, whereas there was no difference between groups in written text comprehension tasks. The study shows that, for the Italian language, reading and writing can be better approached with a method based on presenting syllables instead of phonemes.

Orientamenti della ricerca

Sara Bocchicchio, Enrico Ghidoni, Giacomo Stella

Specific Learning Disabilities in the workplace: A review

DOI: 10.14605/DIS1521803

In adulthood, dyslexia and Specific Learning Disabilities may affect different functional areas such as work, family, social and emotional spheres, everyday life and leisure activities. In the workplace context, available literature (mainly from Anglo-American experience) reports a number of difficulties and obstacles that go far beyond reading and writing and may have an impact from choosing the most appropriate professional role up to influencing career growth and promotion. As at school, the interventions implemented aim to minimise and compensate for these difficulties both through adaptation to the working environment and through individualised actions that are well suited to dealing with heterogeneous functional profiles. Implementing these interventions in a systematic and widespread manner, however, does not seem easy, due to the total lack of knowledge of the phenomenon in the world of work and the competitive nature of this particular field, which certainly does not encourage disclosure of these workers (not even in those countries where specific legislation exists). Hence the need to spread knowledge of dyslexia that takes into account not only the difficulties and weaknesses but also the strengths and unique qualities that these people often possess. This contribution aims to provide an overview of currently available knowledge, but also to stimulate a reflection on the need for a change in the way we consider dyslexia and Learning Disabilities at a social level.

Orientamenti della ricerca

Cesare Cornoldi, Alvaro Pra Baldi, Doriana Tripodi, Elisabetta Morelli

Learning difficulties in foreign students attending Italian high schools. Writing problems

DOI: 10.14605/DIS1521804

It is a well-known fact that students who were not born in Italy, even after many years of Italian schooling, still have difficulties in school achievements. However, these difficulties have not been thoroughly investigated and diversified, at least for as far as pupils attending Italian high schools are concerned. This study takes its cue from the data collected during the standardisation of a battery of tests including 14 measures of writing abilities collected from about 3,000 students. It confirmed that students who were not born in Italy present academic difficulties, but these weaknesses mainly concern spelling (with a particular difficulty in the use of geminates and accents) and to a lower extent handwriting and expressive writing, whereas no substantial differences appear in the case of mathematics. We can conclude that the difficulties met by foreign students in Italian schools are related to the use of language and not to more general problems encountered in a foreign school.

Strumenti applicativi

Gianni Calgaro, Enrico Toffalini, Cesare Cornoldi

The Sub-lexical Reading Task for assessing primary school children’s reading abilities

DOI: 10.14605/DIS1521805

This paper illustrates a new test, particularly suited to beginner readers, which overcomes the difficulties encountered in the analogous test included in the programme «Dislessia e trattamento sublessicale» [«Dyslexia and sub-lexical treatment»] (Cazzaniga et al., 2005). The new test Prova di Lettura Sublessicale – PLS [«Sub-lexical Reading Task»] requires the child to read out loud a series of individual or pairs of syllables (printed in capital letters) that frequently occur in Italian words. The task has adequate psychometric properties and is capable of identifying children who will later present reading difficulties.

The experiment described in this article involved a primary school child suffering from a Specific Learning Disorder. A speech therapy intervention which was aimed at easing the acquisition of reading and writing skills was designed and implemented, with the continued involvement of school users. The cooperation between the school environment and the service team ensured regular support for the pupil, both in rehabilitation and in class work, thus enhancing his motivation and strengthening his self-perception. This was also made possible by the progress achieved by the child himself, with immediate repercussions in his school environment. Importantly, not only was the effectiveness of this process proved by the factual achievements gained by the pupil, but also by the awareness developed by his peers and by adults about specific learning disorders and, in particular, about disease prevention and the well-being of the affected child.


Stefano Calzolari, Giulia Fronza

Eventi e notizie dall’Italia


Cristiano Termine

Una finestra sull’Europa


Luisa Lopez

Rassegna internazionale