Psychology of Disability


The data on people with Neurodevelopmental Disorders (predominantly Intellectual Disabilities and Autism Spectrum Disorders) still represent a challenge for the scientific community today: 20-30% of subjects (minors and adults) have serious problem behaviour, 25-40% have a psychiatric disorder, 20-50% take psychotropic drugs in an attempt to control problem behaviour. 

The most recent studies indicate a great distance between the need for supporting interventions and the services-support currently provided. Prevalence rates of psychiatric disorders are dramatically lower in adults with disabilities than in neurotypical subjects: the existential opportunities to which they have access, the satisfaction of desires, expectations and preferences, individual and social activities, relationships (friendly, sentimental, intimate) and social and work roles are significantly lower. In our country, the information systems relating to the lives of people with disabilities are extremely fragile. There are countless signs (from the institutions themselves, from scientific associations and from those that protect persons and their families) of criticism of a heritage that is instead considered fundamental for more effectively and efficiently orienting the choices related to the services and supports provided.

The course is dedicated to enhancing awareness and developing specific skills regarding evidence-based interventions, starting with scientific models, moving through assessment systems, to treatment design and outcome measurement. Literature references (on which the research basis will be based) and experimental models will be used, to introduce the principles of contextualist sciences, processes and intervention procedures applied in the main clinical pictures of Neurodevelopmental Disorders, for children and adults.



Classroom lectures, case presentations and discussions, simulations.


  1. Neurodevelopmental Disorders
  2. Contextualist sciences and evidence-based approaches
  3. Principles, processes and procedures for improving individual repertoires
  4. Assessment Systems
  5. Case formulation
  6. Definition of treatment
  7. Case study
    1. 7.1. Video modelling
    2. 7.2. Role-playing
    3. 7.3. Written exercises
    4. 7.4. Developing an assessment and treatment plan


Written (individually agreed paper) and oral examination.


Instructions will be provided during the first session of the course.