Exploring the ICF as a Conceptual Framework

In Isaiah Berlin’s essay on The Hedgehog and the FoxThe fox knows many things, but the hedgehog knows one big thing.  It’s hard to be an organized fox, and being a hedgehog may limit innovation.  The conceptual framework of the ICF organizes all the details of one person’s function and edits that information down to the (few) big things which are vital and specific.

The International Classification of Functioning, Disability and Health (ICF) is an example of a conceptual framework for describing and organizing information on functioning and disability.    A conceptual framework is generally defined as an analytical tool used to organize ideas. 

The ICF gathers details about an individual in order to give a specific understanding of their unique functioning.  The microscopic domain describes the tissues and functions of the body.  In contrast, the most macroscopic domain describes how a person successfully participates or has difficulty participating in their unique world.  The ICF, as a conceptual framework,  gives organization to a diverse array of details and shows relationships between the domains.


Next in the ICF series:  Exploring the ICF: The Domains

Author: spritelypt

Pediatric physical therapist

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