Reinforcement lessons for DSA students


As part of its student support services, RUFA – Rome University of Fine Arts has devoted special attention to those who have to deal with the so-called “Specific Learning Disorders” indicated, as a rule, by the acronym SLD.

Students with ASD present a heterogeneous set of disorders that can affect the acquisition, organisation, memorisation, comprehension and use of verbal and non-verbal information. In the knowledge that the student with ASD often just needs more time to organise his or her study, take notes, read or produce a text, RUFA has put in place a number of measures to enable them to use tools and facilities to deal effectively with their learning.

In particular, the following precautions are available:
– clear, concise and well-organised study material;
– additional time to fix knowledge;
– advance knowledge of the syllabus, bibliography, timetable and deadlines;
– use of compensatory tools and dispensatory measures provided by law;
– knowledge of how to conduct examinations (in itinere and final);
– constant dialogue with the teacher/tutor.

The “Guidelines for the right to study of students with Specific Learning Disorders” that RUFA has adopted are a constantly evolving document that is updated thanks to the contributions and suggestions of stakeholders.

As of May 2023, an ‘enhancement lesson’ service has been set up at RUFA, limited to the so-called ‘theoretical’ subjects, in which students with DSA or ADHD have more difficulties.
This service may be used by students with a diagnosis of an SLD handed in at the DSA Office, as well as students with disabilities under Law 104/92, from which an SLD results, who have given their consent to inform their teachers.

For these students, there will be the possibility of attending reinforcement classes, either individual or group, (depending on demand), by appointment with the Head Dr Paola Lancellotti, either in preparation for the exam or during the academic year.

The content of the lessons is aimed at:
– make each student participant acquire a method for recognising the parts of which the syllabus is made up and breaking it down into shorter parts;
– once the parts have been identified, identify the essential ones, through the use of highlighters, key words written in the margins of the text, simplification of certain terms that are easier to memorise;
– drafting concept maps, written summaries, visual diagrams, etc., starting from the teaching material in their possession (textbooks, handouts, notes, etc.) to be taken to the exam;
– oral repetition with the maps, so as to exercise memory through their use.

It is now well known that a specific learning disorder, such as a disturbance of working memory, a difficulty in understanding text or a difficulty in attention make it particularly difficult to acquire knowledge without adequate visual/conceptual support.

The aim of the reinforcement should be to provide work strategies that can lead the student to work independently, without our support, as well as a study method that can be applied independently in technical/practical subjects as well.

The starting point will undoubtedly be the strengths of each individual student, such as the level of verbal comprehension (given by the ICV index present in the diagnosis), to see what the ability to listen and retrieve previously learned information is, as well as oral expression, to which is added the observation of the level of visual-perceptual reasoning (IRP index present in the diagnosis).
The methodology to be used with each student will then be based on the content of the diagnosis, which shows the specific difficulties of each one.

These peculiarities serve us to see how well the student is able to work on and organise visual content and how well he/she is able to put in place reasoning skills.
For some students it is necessary to give ‘deadlines’ and ‘study rhythms’, as they often have difficulty organising their time in preparation for the exam (especially students with ADHD).
Students who request this will be supported both in their preparation for the exam and afterwards in those individual lessons for which further explanation, tailored to their learning difficulties, is required.

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