Classification in childhood disability: Focusing on function in the 21st century

Peter Rosenbaum, Ann Christin Eliasson, Mary Jo Cooley Hidecker, Robert J. Palisano

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

87 Scopus citations


Classification systems in health care are usually based on current understanding of the condition. They are often derived empirically and adopted applying sound principles of measurement science to assess whether they are reliable (consistent) and valid (true) for the purposes to which they are applied. In the past 15 years, the authors have developed and validated classification systems for specific aspects of everyday function in people with cerebral palsy - gross motor function, manual abilities, and communicative function. This article describes the approaches used to conceptualize each aspect of function, develop the tools, and assess their reliability and validity. We report on the utility of each system with respect to clinical applicability, use of these tools for research, and the uptake and impact that they have had around the world. We hope that readers will find these accounts interesting, relevant, and applicable to their daily work with children and youth with disabilities.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1036-1045
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Child Neurology
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 2014


  • CFCS
  • MACS
  • childhood disability
  • functional classification

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Clinical Neurology


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