Research from the World Health Organization called the ICF, was created to outline and measure what overall health in disability looks like. An easier read version called the F-Words in Childhood Disability has helped me to frame my decisions in helping my son live a full life.
This isn’t some sort of Pinterest Mom expectation of needing to do all these things, all the time. Sometimes the focus is only on one of these words and eventual goals for others. They are words that call us as parents to be allies in supporting our kids.
Fun: Childhood is about fun and play. This is how I learn and grow. Please help me to do the activities that I find fun.
Function: I might do things differently, but I CAN do them. How I do it is not important. Please let me try!
Friends: Having childhood friends is important. Please give me opportunities to make friends with my peers.
Family: They know me best and I trust them to do what’s best for me. Listen to them. Talk to them. Listen to them.
Future: Please help me find ways to be independent and be a part of my community.
Fitness: Everyone needs to stay fit and healthy, including me. Help me find ways to keep healthy.
These are words I bring with me to his teachers as we establish educational goals. Ones I share with doctors in framing the decisions we make in supporting where he’s at. I see their impact as these team members share them with others.
It’s a simplistic way for us all to come together in considering a framework for overall health. It helps me to feel empowered as I bring evidence basis where I couldn’t before.
-Rachel E. Martens
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