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Phys Med Rehabil Clin N Am. 2002 Nov;13(4):775-92, vii.

The prevalence of disability among children: paradigms and estimates.

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  • 1School of Social Work, College of Human Services and Health Professions, Syracuse University, Sims Hall, 4th Floor, Syracuse, NY 13214, USA.


Every examination of disability among children must first grapple with definition of disability. The challenges to identifying disability among children involve not only determining the appropriate paradigm for defining disability, but also applying that paradigm to children in a meaningful way. This discussion of the prevalence of disability among children starts by examining the various paradigms utilized to identify disability and how they are interpreted when applied to children. Estimates of the prevalence of childhood disability, under different definitions of disability are presented. The goal of the discussion is to illustrate the sensitivity of the estimates of disability prevalence to the particular definition and data set used. Finally, the potential influence of the choice of paradigm on further measurement and service delivery is outlined.

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