Intended for healthcare professionals


Childhood disability and social policies

BMJ 2009; 338 doi: (Published 24 April 2009) Cite this as: BMJ 2009;338:b1020
  1. Peter Rosenbaum, professor of paediatrics, McMaster University,
  1. 1IAHS Building, Hamilton, ON, L8S 1C7, Canada
  1. rosenbau{at}

    Developmental rehabilitation needs to extend beyond the biomedical dimensions of disease

    Participation (people’s engagement in life) is an essential component of the World Health Organization’s International Classification of Functioning, Disability and Health.1 The classification connects body structure and function (including the impairments caused by any disease) with their effects on activity and participation, and it puts them in the context of personal and environmental factors. This biopsychosocial framework reflects a social model of disability in which a person may be disabled by external factors, including environmental and social forces beyond their control.

    Children and young people with disabilities constitute about 4-6.5% of the population in many countries.2 3 4 They are disadvantaged in terms of their participation and engagement in life,5 and the limitations in their activity may be two to three times greater than for typically developing children. …

    View Full Text

    Log in

    Log in through your institution


    * For online subscription