March 12, 2004

The Language of Inclusion

How do we hold together the argument that inclusive travel is a social benefit and a worthwhile business goal?

To some degree we start with a shared vocabulary. Towards a Common Language for Functioning, Disability and Health by the World Health Organization, (Geneva, 2002) is that starting point.

Understanding this document is especially important for those in the US. It defines disability differently than it is defined in the Americans with Disabilities Act -- and opens new possibilities for inclusion.


From the Introduction:

The International Classification of Functioning, Disability and Health, known
more commonly as ICF, provides a standard language and framework for the
description of health and health-related states
. Like the first version published by the World Health Organization for trial purposes in 1980, ICF is a multipurpose classification intended for a wide range of uses in different sectors. It is a classification of health and health-related domains -- domains that help us to describe changes in body function and structure, what a person with a health condition can do in a standard environment (their level of capacity), as well as what they actually do in their usual environment (their level of performance). These domains are classified from body, individual and societal perspectives by means of two lists: a list of body functions and structure, and a list of domains of activity and participation. In ICF, the term functioning refers to all body functions, activities and participation, while disability is similarly an umbrella term for impairments, activity limitations and participation restrictions. ICF also lists environmental factors that interact with all these components.

ICF is WHO's framework for health and disability. It is the conceptual basis for
the definition, measurement and policy formulations for health and disability. It
is a universal classification of disability and health for use in health and health-related sectors. ICF therefore looks like a simple health classification, but it can be used for a number of purposes. The most important is as a planning and policy tool for decision-makers.

Posted by rollingrains at March 12, 2004 05:26 PM | TrackBack