Mr. Giona Di Poi
Institution : University of Fribourg
Department : Special Education
Discipline : Special education / Psychology
Research field : Positive psychology in special education
Supervisor : A. Samson
Thesis topic : Positive emotions and well-being in individuals with autism spectrum disorder
After graduating in graphic design and visual communication, I decided to pursue my social vocation and offer my expertise to improve the quality of life for people with special needs and disabilities. As a result, I undertook studies in special education at the University of Fribourg.
During my studies and professional experience, I developed a strong interest in neurodevelopmental disorders, with a particular emphasis on Autism Spectrum Disorder. A central focus of my interest was the heightened autistic perception (often visual) and logical thinking (through abstract concepts, patterns, and images) and their involvement in the child's affective development. Over time, I gradually realised that the medical paradigm of psychology, mainly based on deficits and impairments, did not present the adequate means to investigate the complex and resourceful way of functioning of people living on the spectrum.
Currently, to counterbalance the gap between deficits and resources, I am investigating the role of positive emotions and well-being in this population. In particular, I am interested in understanding how emotions such as interest, sensory pleasure, gratitude, love, or compassion may differ in individuals with autism and how they may contribute to happiness and well-being in daily lives.