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Functional assessment tools

Recognizing the ICF-based move to consider functioning as a key indicator of people’s health, there is a strong impetus to describe people’s status in ‘functional’ language. In the field of childhood disability, and especially in Cerebral Palsy (CP), there are several classification systems that capture gross motor function (GMFCS), manual abilities (MACS), communicative functioning (CFCS), and feeding and swallowing function (EDACS). In the field of autism there is an emerging group of related tools to classify social communication (ACSF:SC). The increasing focus on function, and our ability to speak a common language about children’s functioning, have allowed us to understand aspects of the neurodisabilities of childhood in a different, and far richer, way than has previously been possible without these reliable and valid classifications.


In measuring function – and changes in function over time and with interventions – new clinical tools are being created and validated with this specific purpose in mind. In this section of the website there are materials that classify function, materials that have been validated to measure change in functioning, and materials that can inform visitors about the structure, function and properties of measures. This kind of understanding is essential for both clinicians and researchers, so that people select and apply the ‘right’ measures for the ‘right’ clinical or research purposes.