The Specific Learning disorders (DSA) are alterations in neurobiological that determine important difficulty of learning reading (dyslexia), writing (dysorthography and dysgraphia) or calculate (dyscalculia), in children, adolescents, and adults, with a the cognitive level in the standard and that does not have defects of eyesight, hearing, or neurological syndromes.

You define “Specific” as of interest to a domain ability, well-defined (read, write, and/or calculation) so significant, but limited, leaving intact intellectual functioning and general. Are diagnosed after having excluded the presence of diseases/abnormalities, sensory, neurological, or cognitive and severe psychopathologies.

The specific learning disorder is not a disease but, as indicated fromItalian Dyslexia association (IDA) , is a neurodiversità: one neurological development is not pathological, but atypical, the underlying skills of reading, writing and calculation.

What are the DSA, and how do they manifest themselves?


The specific disorder of reading
that is manifested by a difficulty in decoding the text.


Disorder in the spelling
understood as the ability grapho-motor.


Disorder in the scripture, understood as the ability of transcoding phonographic and competence spelling, and then related to spelling errors


Disorder in the mathematical ability of the number, of the calculation and the meaning of the number, defined as the ability to understand and work with numbers.

How to recognize the DSA

It should be pointed out that each individual with DSA is different from the other: each person with these disorders share a more or less extended typical features among which we find always:

  • unexpected and important difficulties in reading and writing and/or in the calculation, expressed mainly as slowness in the automation of skills.
bambino autonomia scarpe

Some children with specific learning difficulties may also have difficulty coordination, of fine motorin the skills organization and sequence, or in the acquisition of timelines (hours, days, seasons, etc).

Some tasks can be as complex as for example: 

  • tie their shoes
  • organize the material to be put in your backpack for the day after
  • use the journal in the correct way, by writing tasks into the right page
  • follow the instructions of a game  
quanto mi fa male sentire mio figlio leggere

Some authors (Peter and Low, 2017) they pointed out how children and young people with Learning disabilities Specific may manifest:

  • social anxiety and performance
  • phobia school (Cornoldi, 2007)
  • low self-esteem/low sense of self-efficacy (Gagliano, 2008)
  • relational difficulties and aggression (Gagliano, 2008)

These psychological problems however, as a consequence the Learning Disorder Specific, and not the cause.

DSA - Disturbi specifici di apprendimento - Centro Tice

Also the secondary school persist slowness and errors in the reading, which may hinder the understanding of the meaning of a written text.

The written assignments will become more and more richiestivi and young people with this disorder appear tend to be disorganized in the activities, both at home and at school. Often have difficulty in copying from the blackboard and take notes or annotations.

Sometimes they lose confidence in themselves and can show important alterations of mood and behavior.

Law 170


In the last decade, the attention to the dyslexia and, more in general, for specific learning disorders has grown in the field of neuropsychiatric, psychological and logopedico and there has been a growing interest on the part of the legislature.

In Italy, in October 2010, was enacted the law 170, which recognizes the specific learning disabilities and the right to education of students with specific learning difficulties, granting them special measures “dispensativi and compensatory” in order to facilitate the early diagnosis, the success of the school (from elementary school to university) and the collaboration between the school, family and health services, providing courses of rehabilitation adequate.

Each child with DSA has the right to a Teaching Plan Custom (PDP) that has the compensatory measures and the measures dispensative put in place by the school to allow the child to learn 
in the best way possible and promote your academic success

The PDP of your son respects his needs and educational? Did you know that before you sign it, you can read it with a consultant?

Prevalence, course, diagnosis

How many children with specific learning difficulties?

3.5% of the Italian population in the age of evolution (Superior institute of Health, 2011) presents a specific learning disorder. Considering that the school population between the ages of 6 and 18 is, in our Country, about 7 million students (ISTAT 2013), in the Italian schools, there are approximately 245.000 students with specific learning difficulties. The DSA represents nearly 30% of users of services of Neuropsychiatry and about 50% of the individuals that carry out a rehabilitation intervention (Higher Institute of Health, 2011). Despite these high numbers, the Higher Institute of Health (2011) believes that the DSA are currently under-diagnosed, recognized late or confused with other disorders.

difficoltà di lettura nei bambini

Genetic factors and physiological seem to play an important role in the genesis of disorders of learning. There is a strong familiarity: the relative risk of dyslexia or dyscalculia is significantly higher in first-degree relatives of individuals with this learning difficulty.


The debutthe recognition and diagnosis of specific learning disorder typically occur during the elementary school years when young children are learning to read, to learn the spelling, writing and mathematics. However, symptoms precursors such as delays or language impairment, difficulty with rhymes or counting, or difficulty with fine motor skills required to write commonly occur in early childhood, before the start of school.

The specific learning disorder lasts a lifetime, but the time course and the clinical manifestation is variablebecause they depend in part from interactions between the tasks required by the environmental context, the severity of the learning difficulties of the individual, the learning ability of the individual, the co-morbidities and treatment systems available.

It can happen at school, children with dyslexia, or, more generally, with a DSA not diagnosed, are described as listless. It is also common to attribute to their lack of commitment in the study because of non-learning. In these cases, in addition to the discomfort related to the difficulty of learning, it may display a sense of frustration and a devaluation of their personal ability that creates a vicious circle of avoidance of any learning context.

The lack of trust in their capabilities personal information can also, over time, promote early school drop-out, a strong motivation to learning with the appearance of psychological problems such as social isolation, aggression, and behavioral disorders in the classroom, and in some cases, anxiety disorders, and depression.


For this reason, in dealing with the DSA, it is important to treat not only the educational aspect and the content (which is designed to enhance the learning ability of the child), but also the psychological aspect.

The early diagnosis of a DSA is very important: dealing with a school with all the help needed, in fact, allows a reduction of stress in children, a greater self-awareness and a more formed sense of self-efficacy.


The diagnosis of Dyslexia, Dysorthography, or Dysgraphia you can do from the end of the second grade of primary school, while Dyscalculia you can do from the end of the third class of primary school.

To make a diagnosis, you must have completed the normal process of teaching skills, the object of evaluation,
 despite this, it is possible to identify risk factors (personal and family) and indicators of the retardation of learning that can still enable the activation of early intervention, targeted to solve problems or to reduce the impact of the disorder on learning outcomes.

It is good to make a neuropsychological evaluation as soon as you think important and not the common difficulties in learning to read and write, because the earlier you intervene, the better the prognosis and well-being school student.

Although the definitive diagnosis can be made only at the end of the second grade of primary school, a first assessment of the child may be at risk of DSA and, as a result, you will be able to intervene in the immediate therapy, and/or other interventions of recovery, aimed at strengthening the difficulty, and the self-esteem of the child. not

At the Centers Tice the diagnosis is made by professionals trained and updated, according to the guidelines of reference (the Consensus Conference, the Panel will Update and Revision of the Consensus Conference and the national Institute of Health have established a diagnostic procedure that is shared). The diagnosis report released by our team, after the validation of the compliance team of the USL, it is valid as the certification in the schools of every order and degree in the Region of Emilia-Romagna. Our professionals are also accredited for diagnosis in other Regions (in case of doubt, ask our specialist Dr. ssa Sara Dobson).


Professionals TICE offer students and their families paths of awareness of the diagnosis from the psychological point of view, regulatory and social.

Learn about all the personal potential, but also be able to talk about their difficulties, to have awareness of your own limitations and be able to respond to provocations in a conscious way is a fundamental instrument to live with a DSA. To Tice l’positive environment promotes acceptance gradual and deep your personal way to learn, able to promote awareness and personal well-being.

In the centers TICE, we propose pathways of empowerment through precision teaching and fluency-based instruction: these are methods that allow you to speed up the skills to elementary with short sprints of practical, fun, and motivate the student.  We have developed materials, paper and digital, that make it a fun learning the multiplication tables, equivalence, elements of geometry, calculus to the mind, verbs, and much more.

These pathways are aimed at children with learning disorders, suspected learning disorder or simply difficulty in school. We dedicate this type of projects primary school childrenin line with what is stated in the scientific literature, as it is in a very early age that you can get the best results. With the entrance to the middle school, are proposed pathways designed to enhance skills on more complex the organization, the method of study and the autonomy.


Our team is dedicated to the study is formed to transform the moments of study opportunities for real learning: through a gradual reduction of the aid and of the involvement of the psychologist, our students are able to study independently and with passion. Part of this talk is dedicated to the organization of time, because many students struggle to schedule commitments and schedules.


Children and young people with learning difficulties have a greater risk of being exposed to risk factors for the development of low self-esteem, are more often the victims of bullying or teasing, and often experience repeated failures that lead them to negative feelings towards the school environment, family and social life. For this reason, the team of Tice offers paths of emotional support, through interviewing, psychoeducation, games, workshops, small groupto promote the ability to recognize and express their emotions, share their difficulties and feelings, thinking, together with strategies to address them.

The results of our actions are reflected in numerous scientific publications that you can see HERE

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