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Int J Audiol. 2003 Jul;42 Suppl 1:S2-8.

Classification of communication disabilities in children: contribution of the International Classification on Functioning, Disability and Health.

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University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, NC 27599-3500, USA.


Problems in communication serve as frequent markers of developmental delay and disability in childhood. Documentation of delayed or atypical receptive or expressive communication is one of the key diagnostic factors in the identification of children for intervention and support. This paper (1) reviews issues in classification and measurement of communication disabilities, (2) presents an overview of the development and publication of the WHO International Classification of Functioning, Disability and Health (ICF), and (3) identifies the implications of the ICF for children and youths with communication disabilities. As a conceptual framework, the ICF may be used productively to define the focus for different efforts to address children's language and communication difficulties. Impairments of a physical or mental nature can be covered in the Body Function and Body Structure components, complementing the information provided by the ICD-10 with descriptive documentation. The component of Activities, encompassing performance aspects of communication, lends itself to functional assessment and intervention in habilitation and education programs. The component of Participation provides an operational basis for policy initiatives focusing on social integration and community life Finally, the Environmental Factors component serves as a framework for identifying the nature and extent of access and opportunity for individuals and populations.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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