Current Status + Progress
A new way to measure child functioning

In recognizing the need for a set of questions that would produce internationally comparable data on children, the Washington Group formed a subgroup in 2009 that is chaired by the National Statistical Office of Italy (ISTAT). UNICEF joined the subgroup in 2011.

The first main activity of the subgroup was the development of a short set of questions to reflect current thinking on child functioning for inclusion in censuses and surveys. The new module uses the ICF-CY as the conceptual framework and relies on a functional approach to measuring disability.

The Washington Group/UNICEF Module on Child Functioning, finalized in 2016, covers children between 2 and 17 years of age and assesses functional difficulties in different domains including hearing, vision, communication/comprehension, learning, mobility and emotions. To better reflect the degree of functional difficulty, each area is assessed against a rating scale. The purpose is to identify the subpopulation of children who are at greater risk than other children of the same age or who are experiencing limited participation in an unaccommodating environment. The set of questions is intended for use in national household surveys and censuses.

The module has undergone extensive review by experts, and testing in several countries to determine the quality of questions being asked and ascertain cultural understanding by respondents.  It has been incorporated into the most recent round of MICS and is being implemented in some countries as part of MICS6. In March 2017, a joint statement issued by multiple UN agencies, member states, organizations of persons with disabilities, and other stakeholders recommended the module as the appropriate tool for SDG data disaggregation for children. The module is being translated into multiple languages and, in addition to English, is available in French, Spanish, Vietnamese, Russian, Arabic, Chinese and Portuguese (access all currently available languages here).

Supporting documentation, including a concept note, tabulation plan and narrative, syntax, templates for reporting, guidelines for interviewers and training materials are also available.

 

Recent Resources

Measuring child functioning: the UNICEF/Washington Group module

Oct 5, 2017

The work of the UNICEF/Washington Group collaboration provides a standard way to identify, at the population level, the prevalence of functional difficulties among children aged 2 to 17 years, and to use this information to monitor participation (for example, access to education) in accordance to the Convention on the Rights of the Child and the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. These data may help countries and governments plan and develop better practices to improve the living conditions and wellbeing of children with disabilities around the world.

Download the PDF

Module on child functioning tabulation plan, narrative and syntax

Jul 21, 2017

These documents provide guidance on data analysis and calculation of the recommended indicators on prevalence of children with disabilities in the population using the Module on Child Functioning. The tabulation plan provides the template for presentation of the data analysis and calculation of the indicators. The tabulation narrative provides the algorithms with explanations on each table presented in the tabulation plan. The Stata syntax and SPSS syntax can be found in the word documents.

Tabulation plan | Tabulation narrative | Stata syntax | SPSS syntax

Module on Child Functioning Concept Note

Feb 7, 2017

This document provides information on the background of the Module on Child Functioning, the rationale for its development, as well as the process of rigorous testing and review undertaken to ensure validity of the questionnaire.

The Washington Group/UNICEF Module on Child Functioning, finalized in 2016, covers children between 2 and 17 years of age and assesses functional difficulties in different domains including hearing, vision, communication/comprehension, learning, mobility and emotions.

Access the document

Module on Child Functioning

Oct 21, 2016

The Washington Group/UNICEF Module on Child Functioning, finalized in 2016, covers children between 2 and 17 years of age and assesses functional difficulties in different domains including hearing, vision, communication/comprehension, learning, mobility and emotions. To better reflect the degree of functional difficulty, each area is assessed against a rating scale. The purpose is to identify the subpopulation of children who are at greater risk than other children of the same age or who are experiencing limited participation in an unaccommodating environment. The set of questions is intended for use in national household surveys and censuses.

English (ages 2-4) | English (ages 5-17) | French (ages 2-4) | French (ages 5-17) | Spanish (ages 2-4) | Spanish (ages 5-17) | Vietnamese (ages 2-4) | Vietnamese (ages 5-17) | Russian (ages 2-4) | Russian (ages 5-17) | Chinese (ages 2-4) | Chinese (ages 5-17) | Arabic (ages 2-4) | Arabic (ages 5-17) | Portuguese (standard) (ages 2-4) | Portuguese (standard) (ages 5-17) | Portuguese (Brazilian) (ages 2-4) | Portuguese (Brazilian) (ages 5-17)

Field testing a draft version of the UNICEF/Washington Group module on child functioning and disability

Oct 1, 2016

Global child disability data are generally non-comparable, comprising different tools, methodologies and disability definitions. UNICEF and The Washington Group on Disability Statistics have developed a new tool on child functioning and disability to address this need. The aim of this paper is to describe the development of the new module, and to present an independent field test of the draft module in two contrasting settings.

Access the article

A Key To Inclusion: New Tool to Measure Child Functioning and Disability

Apr 19, 2016

A Key to Inclusion: A video highlighting the critical importance of collecting data on child functioning and disability, on its feasibility and on its powerful results. The video addresses a new series of questions put together by UNICEF/Washington Group on Disability Statistics that go beyond labels and diagnoses to explore children’s actual experiences and the difficulties that they encounter in performing daily activities.

watch video

Development of the module on child functioning

Apr 1, 2016

This poster shows a timeline of the development of the UNICEF/Washington Group module on child functioning from the establishment of the technical working group on child functioning in 2009 to the online release of the module in 2016.

Download the poster