B2980 - Processes and Learning Disorders

Academic Year 2023/2024

  • Moduli: Paola Bonifacci (Modulo 1) Martina Cangelosi (Modulo 2)
  • Teaching Mode: Traditional lectures (Modulo 1) Traditional lectures (Modulo 2)
  • Campus: Cesena
  • Corso: Second cycle degree programme (LM) in Applied Cognitive Psychology (cod. 5965)

Learning outcomes

At the end of the training activity, the student: - knows the development of learning processes and the evaluation of the disturbances that slow down their functioning; - is able to diagnose early attention, reading, writing, calculation and comprehension disorders and to use the tools to measure them.

Course contents

The course takes place in the second semester from February to mid-May 2024 and is directed at students of the first year of the course (Master's Degree in Applied Cognitive Psychology). The lessons are held at the headquarters of the Department of Psychology of Bologna. Class times are Mondays and Wednesdays from 11:00 to 13:00 and Tuesdays from 9 to 11. The course is organized in 2 modules (Module 1: Prof. Paola Bonifacci, Module 2: Dr. Martina Cangelosi). The calendar of lessons and the division of days between the two modules is published on the teaching page. The topics of the 2 modules will be integrated and the exam is unique. Module 1 will cover the following topics: - theoretical models of learning processes - Description of the causal models and behavioral patterns of the main learning and neurodevelopment disorders (dyslexia, dyscalculia, dysgraphia, dysorthography, attention disorder, autism, motor coordination disorder). - Trajectories of atypical profiles in adulthood - Epigenetic processes, gene*environment interaction, comorbidity. - Bilingualism and learning processes. In module 2, there will be an in-depth study of issues relating to cognitive assessment in bilingual contexts and assessment/intervention through technological tools.


Main text:

Zoccolotti, P. (2021). Disturbi Specifici dell'Apprendimento. Strumenti per la valutazione. Carocci Editore (Manuali).(Capitoli 1,2, 3, 4, 5, 11, 12, 13, gli altri capitoli sono utili come guida alla conoscenza degli strumenti di valutazione, da consultare).

Suggested texts for further reading:

Bonifacci, P. (a cura di) (2018). I bambini bilingui. Favorire gli apprendimenti nelle classi multiculturali. Roma: Carocci Editore. Isbn: 9788843090211


Teaching methods

During the lessons the theoretical models of learning, dysfunctional processes, behavioral patterns and indications for evaluation and diagnosis will be discussed. The theoretical presentation, carried out through slides that will be distributed to the students, will be enriched by the presentation of clinical cases, standardized tools, questionnaires and digital technologies.

Assessment methods

The verification of the skills acquired includes a written exam with open questions. The test will consist of two parts, will have a minimum score of 18 points to be passed and a maximum score of 30 cum laude. The first part is aimed at investigating the theoretical skills and consists of 2 open questions referring to the CHAPTERS OF THE BOOK. Each question can have a maximum score of 5 points (total of 10 points). The answers which, in addition to being complete in terms of content, will show capacity for synthesis and knowledge of specific language will be awarded maximum scores. The use of non-specific language and marginal gaps will receive moderate scores, insufficient scores will be attributed in the case of significant gaps in knowledge. ATTENDEES WHO CARRY OUT GROUP WORK MUST NOT ANSWER THE 2 THEORETICAL QUESTIONS DURING THE EXAM, WHICH WILL BE ONLY ON THE DISCUSSION OF THE CASE (the book can be kept for consultation). In the second part of the task, FOR ALL STUDENTS, the trace of an atypical learning profile will be provided and the student will have to outline a hypothesis of a functional profile, a diagnostic hypothesis and possible lines of intervention. 3 questions will be asked: 1) Indicate any diagnostic insights useful for a better understanding of the diagnostic profile, justifying the reasons why it is considered important to deepen that function/area. If possible, indicate the name of the tests you would like to use or, alternatively, the method/characteristics of the tests/questionnaires/interviews proposed as further study(6 points). 2) Summarize the functional profile, highlighting areas of strength and weakness. Assume the diagnostic profile and indicate, if possible, the diagnostic codes. Support the diagnostic hypothesis with possible references to theoretical models (8 points). 3) Explain proposals and suggestions for the intervention (indications for the family, indications for the school, proposed courses with professionals, reference to regulations), specifying any assistive technologies that you intend to propose (6 points). This section can have a maximum score of 20 points. In addition to consideration of synthesis skills and specific language knowledge, critical reasoning skills and specific knowledge of diagnostic criteria will be enhanced with excellent scores. N.B. FOR STUDENTS WHO TAKE THE EXAM WITHIN THE FIT COURSE (24 CFU) OR ENROLLED IN OTHER DEGREE COURSES (NOT PSYCHOLOGY) OR ERASMUS STUDENTS THE EXAMINATION MODALITIES PROVIDES FOR 31 QUESTIONS WITH MULTIPLE CHOICE ANSWER (NOT THE DISCUSSION OF THE REPORT). It is necessary to notify the teacher when registering for the exam.

Teaching tools

Video projector, PC, audio and video speakers, paper tools

Office hours

See the website of Paola Bonifacci

See the website of Martina Cangelosi


Good health and well-being Quality education

This teaching activity contributes to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals of the UN 2030 Agenda.