DSA and Integrated Intervention: the importance of a group intervention
DSAs, Specific Learning Disorder, concern reading, writing and / or calculation difficulties: children who have been diagnosed with Learning Disorder do not have an intellectual deficit, on the contrary, in order for it to be able to diagnose the Intellectual Quotient must return to normal (American Psychiatric Association, 2013).
Advertising message The learning disorders that fall within the DSA are: specific, because they exclusively concern certain learning processes, have an evolutionary matrix, as the learning disorder occurs in the developmental age and can be modified with specific interventions, and originate neurobiological, since DSAs are not consequences of trauma, educational, psychological, relational blocks and do not arise from the lack of application to the study.
Taking charge of a child or young boy with DSA is usually divided into the following activities: diagnosis, design and implementation of rehabilitation training, applying specific protocols for enhancing the cognitive abilities of patients. However, this type of intervention is concentrated on improving the school performance of children, neglecting psychophysical well-being, an important aspect for adequate psycho-emotional development. In fact, paying attention almost exclusively to the “shortcomings” of the child or boy does not allow to cope with the suffering and the sense of inferiority that they experience.
The child who has one or more DSAs, at least initially, undertakes to carry out school tasks, even if despite his efforts he has not managed to obtain the desired result. Subsequently, however, the obstacles he encounters in his learning process leads him to be demotivated, disinterested and to implement avoidance attitudes towards school tasks to avoid the frustration and expected failure (Cornoldi, 1991; Tressoldi and Vio, 1996).
In this regard, the scientific literature highlights how learning, behavioral and emotional disturbances are significantly related to each other (De Noni et al., 2009): many researches have linked the learning disorder with a discomfort characterized by low self-esteem, a sense of inadequacy, isolation and relationship problems. These experiences are, in part, from the interpretations of the failures that these kids often experience.
In light of what is reported in this article, the importance of evaluating the emotional dimension of children and young people with DSA and of intervening so that they can have a better quality of life, understanding how their success and self-esteem can be released from a school performance.
In order for emotional experiences to be processed, it is essential that the emotions and perceptions that each has of themselves are expressed and verbalized: children and young people with DSA face their difficulties daily for at least 5-6 hours a day, often, with reduced understanding by others of their frustrations.
Advertising message For this reason, and given the tendency to take full responsibility for one’s failures, to understand – within a group of peers having the same problems – the nature of one’s difficulties, to experience how one is not the only one to living specific emotional experiences, empathizing and finding a space in which to expose their frustrating experiences, allows children and young people with DSA to rework the image of themselves, deresponsibility from the school failures that have been experienced (Donovan, MacIntyre & MacMaster, 2002).
It is therefore essential to combine cognitive enhancement with a group psychological intervention, the advantages of which lie in the very nature of the intervention: all the participants are the same and the therapist leaves a lot of space and a lot of freedom for everyone, converting into a group voice which is not above this; no one is judged and mutual support and cooperation are promoted; a feeling of belonging to the group develops which favors the perception of being part of something and the freedom of expression without fear; listening to the stories of others can be a food for thought to solve your problems; it is possible to experience oneself by carrying out a re-evaluation of one’s perception of oneself and, consequently, of one’s self-esteem.