Integration of disability at primary and lower secondary schools in Italy: A research study on assistants for autonomy and communication

Fiammetta Giovagnoli, Andrea Caputo, Rosa Maria Paniccia


The paper proposes a research study exploring the culture of integration of students with a diagnosis of disability at primary and lower secondary schools in Italy and aims at developing a competence to integrate disability. To this purpose 42 assistants for autonomy and communication (ad personam assistants or educational cultural assistants) were interviewed; who represent significant professionals providing assistance to disability. Textual data derived from interviews were analyzed by Emotional Text Analysis (AET). Results highlight that factors orienting intervention on disability mostly rely on values contrasting the development of professions dealing with people at risk for exclusion. Besides, organizational competence is denied because of the medicalization of disability focusing on the diagnosed individual, shift from his/her relational context, thus leading to diagnose deficits. However, a potential development line can be represented by assistance provided not to individuals, but to the relationship between the diagnosed person and his/her contexts of reference. The assistance about difficult relationships – between the diagnosed individual, school, family, specialists in diagnosis and rehabilitation – rather than about individuals thus consents to move the focus from the needy person to relationships as well as related problems and resources.


disability; school; inclusion; social integration, school assistants for disability.

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Rivista di Psicologia Clinica. Teoria e metodi dell'intervento

Rivista Telematica a Carattere Scientifico Registrazione presso il Tribunale civile di Roma (n.149/2006 del 17/03/2006)

ISSN 1828-9363