The work in the Observational, Diagnosis and Education Lab. (ODFLab) concerns research projects, training and treatment in the areas of typical and atypical neurodevelopment, social distress, emotional disorders, and special educational needs. The ODFLab is one of the national reference centers for the research, diagnosis and treatment of Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) and Learning Disabilities (LD). Psychological assessment procedures are applied in compliance with international protocols on a national scale. The center also provides counseling and intervention services on primary prevention, parental support and inclusion in education.
Our research activity aims at investigating ASD early indicators and parent-child interaction dynamics with typical and atypical children through observation scale analysis and neuroimaging techniques (Eye-tracker, fMRI e TMS). Furthermore, our research group is currently exploring new interdisciplinary approaches which include the use of sensors to detect physiological indicators and the analysis of typical and atypical individuals' developmental trajectories through genomic and metagenomics profiling.
Research findings inform our diagnostic approach and to ensure that our rehabilitation programs are more effective, timely, intensive and inclusive of all the figures interacting with the child in different contexts (family and school). This type of intervention utilizes video-feedback techniques to promote a better understanding of an ASD child's behavioral patterns while interacting with adults. The success of our intervention is monitored against micro-objectives, which are periodically defined; systematic measurements are also employed to validate treatment efficacy.
Our lab also offers music therapy workshops that foster social and emotional competence in children and adolescents with ASD.
The ODFLab cooperates with other research groups of University of Trento. In partnership with the Department of Engineering and Computer Science (DISI), the ODFLab developed a video game specifically to improve executive functions in children with learning disabilities through the creation of innovative interventions, such as computerized training. Research in this field also focuses on motivation, self-esteem and parental compliance, as these factors have been found to affect the outcomes of the intervention.
The ODFLab also collaborates with regional research groups, namely the Bruno Kessler’ Foundation, IPRASE and DISI. Furthermore, the ODFLab is involved in the Trentino Autism Initiative project (TRAIN) and it collaborates with several regional social cooperatives: Fondazione Trentina per l’Autismo, Istituto Superiore di Sanità, Ospedale Bambin Gesù in Rome, and IRCSS Stella Maris in Pisa. It is also part of the Network for monitoring children at risk of ASD (NIDA).
Finally, on an international level, the ODFLab collaborates with the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (Bethesda, MD - USA).