The International Classification of Functioning Disability and Health (ICF) is meant to be a universal language for professionals working with functioning and health in children and adults. So far most applications of ICF have been in the field of health sciences. Is it also applicable to education? This paper aims to present the outcome of a systematic literature review in the fields of education, more specifically education of children with disabilities or special educational needs and the ICF. Devised as a complementary classification of health and functioning by the World Health Organisation (WHO) in 2001 with a child and youth version (ICF-CY) published in 2007, the ICF appears to be mostly used in the medical field with reviews highlighting its use and applications (Bruyère, Van Looy, & Peterson, 2005). Thus, this literature review intends to situate the current debates in education which relate to the ICF and its concepts, and also to report the extent to which it is being used. The major interest is to explore how the ICF/ICF-CY, are currently situated in the field of education.
This study uses a systematic review of the literature using database keyword searches. The keywords used to search in the databases were applied after qualitative test searches were carried out to establish the suitability of the terms. The selection of studies was then refined further using inclusion and exclusion protocols. The protocols investigated the paper contents at different levels: abstract, full -text, and full-text quality level. In addition an extraction protocol is also used on the included documents to draw on the points which arise from the research questions and provide the basis for the main discussion. Studies exploring the relationship between education, the ICF and its related concepts: participation, environment, and personal factors were reviewed.
Bruyère, S. M., Van Looy, S. A., & Peterson, D. B. (2005). The International Classification of Functioning, Disability and Health: Contemporary Literature Overview. Rehabilitation Psychology 50(2), 113-121.
WHO. (2001). International Classification of Functioning, Disability and Health. Geneva: WHO. WHO. (2007). International Classification of Functioning, Disability and Health, Version for Children and Youth, ICF-CY. Geneva: WHO.