Faculty & Research

Recent Publications - Journal Articles


Portugal's special education law: implementing the International Classification of Functioning, Disability and Health in policy and practice.

Sanches-Ferreira, Manuela; Simeonsson, Rune J.; Silveira-Maia, Mónica; Alves, Sílvia; Tavares, Ana; Pinheiro, Sara.
Disability & Rehabilitation, 35 (10): 868-873 (2013)

DOI: DOI: 10.3109/09638288.2012.708816. Information about DOI

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Purpose: The International Classification of Functioning, Disability and Health (ICF) was introduced in Portuguese education law as the compulsory system to guide eligibility policy and practice in special education. This paper describes the implementation of the ICF and its utility in the assessment process and eligibility determination of students for special education.

Methods: A study to evaluate the utility of the ICF was commissioned by the Portuguese Ministry of Education and carried out by an external evaluation team. A document analysis was made of the assessment and eligibility processes of 237 students, selected from a nationally representative sample.

Results: The results provided support for the use of the ICF in student assessment and in the multidimensional approach of generating student functioning profiles as the basis for determining eligibility. The use of the ICF contributed to the differentiation of eligible and non eligible students based on their functioning profiles.

Conclusions: The findings demonstrate the applicability of the ICF framework and classification system for determining eligibility for special education services on the basis of student functioning rather than medical or psychological diagnose.

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