Rise of learning disabilities in Italy

More than 250,000 students in Italy have a certified Learning Disability: it is almost the 3% of the total amount of Italian pupils, according to a report presented by the Italian Department of Education and Research (MIUR), referred to the school year 2016-2017.

Dyslexia is the more common disability among them: the 42,5% of the students with Learning Disabilities are dyslexic. The 20,8% have dysorthography; the 19,3% have dyscalculia and the 17,4% dysgraphia.

Another aspect underlined by this report is the frequency of Learning Disabilities among the pupils of the first grade of secondary schools, between 11 and 13 years old: they are the 5,4% of the total number of students. At the second grade (14-18 years old), they are the 4%.

These disabilities, anyway, are sometimes detected also at a younger age. In fact, 774 children are suspected to suffer from LD, that is the 0,05% of the total amount of the attendant of nursery school (3-5 years old).

The 1,9% of the whole number of the schoolchildren of primary school, aged between 6 and 10 years old are at risk of LD: they are almost 54,000.

The highest percentage of students with LD is in Liguria (4,9%), with high values in other regions of Northern Italy as Piemonte, Valle d’Aosta, Lombardia, Friuli-Venezia Giulia.

Southern Italy shows smaller values than the rest of Italy: the lowest percentage of students with LD is in Calabria (0.7%) and in Campania (0,9%).

In comparison with the previous reports, the share of students with LD has increased of 4 times in six years: in the school year 2010/2011 it was the 0,7% of the total number of students against the 2,9% of the last research about the 2016/2017 school year.

According to the Italian Department of Education, the National Law 170/2010 has played a significant role in this rise: after having been entered into force, the Italian school system is more responsible towards the students with LD and the teachers have more and adequate skills to face suspects of LD among their pupils.

In this way “there can be the necessary diagnostic path in qualified medical centres, allowing the increase of certifications for the different types of disabilities” maintain the Department of Education in the report.