The International Classification of Functioning, Disability and Health, known more commonly as ICF, is a classification of health and health-related conditions.
The International Classification of Functioning, Disability and Health for Children and Youth (ICF-CY) is an internationally recognised framework for children and youth derived from the ICF aimed specifically at children and young people up to the age of 17.
It is designed 'to record the characteristics of the developing child and the influence of its surrounding environment.' (World Health Organisation, 2007)
This means that health and function are emphasised, and disability or difficulties with function are viewed simply as part of the overall health spectrum. The focus is balanced between what children and young people are able to do as well as what they have difficulty with.
The overall model is below:
The health conditon is generally considered the child's diagnosis - this could be 'asthma' equally it could be 'cerebral palsy'.
Body structures and functions relate to the health condition and describe what is wrong with the body. This may be wheezing (for asthma) or high muscle tone (for cerebral palsy).
The body functions and structures affect the child's activity. Does the child become short of breath? Can the child rise to stand and walk? What is the child capable of doing?
Activity impacts on the child's level of participation in everyday activities such as playing, eating, dressing, cycling, going to the shops, involvement in sports etc.
Alongside these factors is the acknowledgement that the child's environment and individual personal factors influence their development. Parents, siblings, motivation, cognitive ability, housing, infrastructure of local health and education services, and access to sports and leisure facilities are a few of the environmental and personal factors that may impact on a child's development in each area.
With the child, their family and the products at the centre of the model, their developmental progress is influenced by mobility, ability and participation.
For example, by using a product to stretch muscles (body functions and structures in the ICF-CY), we may actually improve mobility which we define as a child being able to access their world and gain as much independence as possible. And of course, products which move will encourage mobility too!
A product might encourage a child to develop hand function, concentration or communication (activities in the ICF-CY). We have termed this ability, which we define as improving physical, cognitive and social development.
Similarly to the ICF-CY, we have defined participation as being able to experience as many activities as possible.
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