Skip to main content
The Center for International Rehabilitation Research Information and Exchange

Home > Conferences > Proceedings > 2003 > 2003 Conference Day 2

Forum on International Collaborative Research in Rehabilitation

July 23-24, 2003
(Day 2 - ICF Segments)

Medthodological Issues in International Comparisons: The International Classification of Functioning, Disability and Health (ICF)

Moderator: Jerome Bickenbach, Ph.D., Professor, Department of Philosophy and Faculties of Law and Medicine, Queens University, Kingston, Ontario, Canada

A Universal Language in Research with Children: Issues with the International Classification of Functioning, Disability, and Health (Power Point)

Rune J. Simeonsson, Ph.D., M.S.P.H., Professor of Education, Research Professor of Psychology
Frank Porter Graham Child Development Institute, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, North Carolina, U.S.A.

Matilde Leonardi, M.D., Pediatric Neurologist, Chair
International Scientific Research & Disability Project / World Health Organization (WHO); Italian National Neurological Institute Carlo Besta, Milan, Italy

Documentation of childhood disablement is important both in terms of prevention and early intervention efforts and for comparison of findings from research and practice. The nature of functioning unique to childhood and adolescence presents special challenges for measurement of the manifestation of disability in children. Variability in terminology and estimates of disability complicate the comparison and interpretation of data on the nature and scope of childhood disability. A standardized conceptual and taxonomic framework is needed to allow comparison of findings across countries. A universal language is also needed to develop surveillance and screening tools that can be used readily with primary caregivers and other key respondents. This presentation (a) identifies issues related to classification of childhood disability; (b) describes the potential of the ICF for a universal language in research with children; (c) describes activities of a work group to develop an adapted version of the ICF.

Dianne Caulfield, B.Sc., P.&O.T., MBA, Consultant, Classifications
Standards Department, Canadian Institute for Health Information, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
(Caulfield Power Point)

In the late 1990s, the Canadian Institute for Health Information (CIHI) was working on the international revision process of ICIDH-2 (International Classification of Functioning and Disability) in collaboration with the North American Collaborating Center (NACC) and the World Health Organization (WHO). Since this revised Classification was officially launched by WHO as the International Classification of Functioning, Disability and Health (ICF), CIHI has been monitoring the implementation and application of ICF across Canada and North America. This presentation will highlight some of the activities in that have taken place in Canada with ICF in recent years.

Gerry Hendershot, Ph.D., Consultant on Disability and Health Statistics
University Park, Maryland, U.S.A.
(Hendershot Power Point)

Disability International Standard Tabulations (DISTab or DISTAB) was established to improve the international comparability of disability statistics from national surveys. With the leadership of the U.S. National Center for Health Statistics, representatives of five recently completed national disability surveys began to meet by telephone monthly and face-to-face annually. The countries represented were Canada, France, the Netherlands, South Africa, and the United States. DISTAB's goal was to produce comparable tables of disability statistics using standard disability terminology and standard table formats. The standard terminology was the World Health Organization's International Classification of Impairments, Disabilities, and Handicap (ICIDH -- now the International Classification of Functioning, Disability, and Health, or ICF) and the standard formats were those recommended by the United Nations Statistical Division. DISTAB participated in developing the new ICF, and its membership and interests have now expanded to include more members and more general issues of disability survey improvement and standardization.

Case Study: American Institutes for Research (AIR) Brazilian Academy of Science (Developmental Disabilities & Group Homes) (Power Point)

Maurice McInerney, Ph.D., Managing Director
American Institutes for Research, Washington, D.C., U.S.A.

Cassia Maria Buchalla, M.D., Ph.D., Assessor
World Health Organization (WHO) Collaborating Center for the Family of International Classifications in Portuguese, School of Public Health, University of Sao Paulo, Brazil

The Academia Brasileira de Ciências is currently collaborating with the American Institutes for Research, Melwood Training Center, and the WHO Collaborating Center for the Family of International Classifications (ICF) on a collaborative research project in Brazil and the United States. The project's purpose is to develop and test a model program for group homes. The ICF is a key dependent measure. The presentation will report on the ICF's current status in Brazil as well as the project's implications for international collaboration. The WHO Center is completing the Portuguese version of the ICF. The project is helping to support strategies for its effective implementation in Brazil, including collaboratively developing training materials, testing the Portuguese version, and deriving ICF check lists and qualifiers. The presentation will conclude by discussing how lessons learned from this international collaboration are providing opportunities to compareICF use in both countries.


Sponsored by the Center for International Rehabilitation Research Information and Exchange (CIRRIE), with support from the National Institute for Disability and Rehabilitation Research (NIDRR).

Co-Sponsors/Collaborating Organizations: