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Disabil Rehabil. 2003 Jun 3-17;25(11-12):602-10.

Applying the International Classification of Functioning, Disability and Health (ICF) to measure childhood disability.

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School of Education & FPG Child Development Institute, CB #8185, UNC, Chapel Hill, NC 27599-8185, USA.


The International Classification of Functioning, Disability and Health-ICF addresses the broad need for a common language and classification of functioning and disability. A parallel need is appropriate measures compatible with the content of the ICF to document the nature and impact of limitations of function, activities and participation. The interaction of developmental characteristics and disability among children represent special challenges for classification as well as measurement. Demographic trends emphasize the need for universal measures that encompass the components of the ICF and can be used in surveillance, screening and evaluation. This paper identifies issues related to application of the ICF to measure disability in childhood; reviews approaches and tools to assess childhood disability and identifies priorities for the development of measures of functioning and disability in children based on the ICF. The development of measures should be framed within a framework of children's rights and application of the biopsychosocial model to document profiles of functioning and disability of children.

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