The application of the ICF CY model in specific learning difficulties: A case study

Silvia Riva, Alessandro Antonietti

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: The International Classification of Functioning, Disability and Health for children and adolescents (ICF CY) has been proposed as a possible framework for evaluating assessment and rehabilitation practice in children with Specific Learning Difficulties (SpLDs).Aim: The aim of this case report is to describe an evaluative and diagnostic process based on the ICF CY framework for a SpLD patient to show its applicability to this kind of developmental problem.Method: A 10-year-old boy with difficulties in reading and writing was assessed both traditionally administering a set of cognitive and language test batteries and, innovatively, with the ICF CY checklist aimed to estimate the functioning profile of the child.Results: The reasons for implementing the recent ICF CY as a framework to assess SpLD in children and to set the goals of interventions were supported. Whereas traditional assessment gives a validated parameter to evaluate the cognitive level and specific difficulties in reading and writing, ICF CY enhances the traditional diagnosis embracing both impairment and social factors to consider when selecting appropriate goals to bring about change in the lives and in the school experiences of children with SpLD, and it gives important cues to teachers, rehabilitators and therapists.Conclusion: ICF CY gives caregivers the opportunities to work together not only to provide direct intervention with the child, but also to work in partnership with the child's family, friends, school and society.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)37-58
Number of pages22
JournalPsychology of Language and Communication
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Jan 1 2010


  • assessment
  • ICF CY
  • intervention
  • specific learning disabilities

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Linguistics and Language
  • Language and Linguistics
  • Communication


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