Where are we now with the ICF?
Norman Perrin has kicked off his new blog format with some thoughts on 'research, cerebral palsy and education' (with a second posting on this promised soon):
'The field has chosen a philosophical shift away from almost exclusively redressing physical impairments underlying functional problems to adopting an additional focus onmaximizing children’s environment, their independence in daily activities, and their community participation.'
A vignette from Tsad Kadima's twentieth-anniversary conference held in Tel Aviv in 2007, referring to its concluding Round Table...
I was contributing to a plenary Round Table, being quizzed along with leading physiotherapist Sarah Capelovitch by paediatrician Peter Rosebaum. Peter is an international very big wheel in the paediatrics of cerebral palsy – and a major ICF-buff. Inter alia Peter posed us both the following question –
Today, the ICF is a central framework, which should guide our work and thinking, both for clinical and research activities in childhood disability. Please try to ‘place’ the ideas of the approach you represent into the ‘modern’ conceptual framework of the ICF.
Ex tempore, I began my reply by stating the following position–
Conductive Education has remained largely untouched by the International Classification of Functioning, Heath and Disability. Internally at least, Conductive Education has not needed this, as it has already implicitly moved on to the next stage, which involves mechanisms for change not just classification.
One does hear from time to time that benefits will accrue to Conductive Education from the existence of the ICF. It would be interesting to hear what benefits there have actually been.
As for a 'philosophical shift' I would be more convinced that there is indeed a revolution in process if less attention were directed to what after all is just a classification system of how things are. Conductive Education (not uniquely), like human development itself. is a dynamic, educational process.
ICF classifies aspects of the world as it is. Conductive Education is concerned with a vital factor that links such aspects in the process of development – learning, and a conscious effort to ensure this through teaching.
ICF's may have all sorts of useful functions in its own world, but I still hold to what I said seven years ago, that Conductive Education is already step ahead of that world (again not uniquely), representing a different pradigme, one characterised by effecting change.
Perrin, N.(2014) Pondering research, cerebral palsy and education (1), C.E. Jottings, 20 November
Schenker, R., Capelovitch, S., Sutton, A., Rosenbaum, P. (2010) Conductive Education and NDT-Bobath: experts' discussion on history, development and current practice, Israeli Journal of Occupational Therapy, vol.19, no 2