CHILD-researchers gave workshops on ICF-CY in Russia

Margareta Adolfsson and Nina Klang gave workshops on ICF-CY in Russia. This was their second visit. Read their story.

ICF-CY workshops in St Petersburg

Margareta Adolfsson and Nina Klang have conducted an ICF-CY workshop in St Petersburg in December 2013 (Day 1-3) with follow up in June 2014 (Day 4-5). The workshop was organized by Larissa Samarina, the director of the Early intervention Institute (EII) in St Petersburg, Russian Federation and Evgeniya Ermalova, the project director, on behalf the Open Society Foundation (OSF), London. Also Dr Elena Kozhevnikova, the previous director of EII, now working as consultant on early childhood and disability issues for OSF and UNICEF, took part.


The participants, around 25 persons, represented four EII centers in St Petersburg; one in Minsk, Belarus; and one infant home in Ukraine. One person came from the pedagogical department of Pushkin university. In addition to the host center of St Petersburg, there were the health car policlinic, the social care center for children with disabilities, and a social center that is a partner of the Nordic council of ministries. Participants represented various professions, such as teachers, special educators, psychologists, speech language therapists, physical therapists, physiologists, and pediatricians. Most of the participants had leading positions in their organizations.


The ICF-CY was selected as a tool for building a common language amongst different professionals. The objective was for participants to understand the construction of the ICF-CY and how to use it within their practices and with other tools they are currently using.


Day 1-3

Three themes were presented 1) Health and Disability, 2) Participation, and 3) Qualifiers and Life situations. Participants were provided the schedule and assignments 1-2 weeks in advance. They prepared reports on experiences of the classification and expectations of utility, and brought a case to work with.  

Period between work shops

The participants were encouraged to try the ICF-CY in practice and to contact Nina and Margareta for supervision if needed. Due to ambiguities in the use of ICF-CY in problem solving, the team from Ukraine was supervised in February. Participants sent information about their experiences three weeks before the next meeting. Nina compiled and translated the information that became the basis for the planning of day 4-5.

Day 4-5

All teams had developed materials based on the ICF-CY and tried it with families. Three main approaches had been developed: 1) meetings with families based on a new form for collecting information about children coming to the EII for the first time, 2) training professionals in the holistic framework, and 3) problem-solving processes based on a matrix provided by the lecturers (Ukraine).  In addition, the holistic ICF-CY framework was considered in team meetings and discussions.


Most of the lecturing was in English and translated into Russian by an accredited interpreter. Lectures were mixed with group work, partly based on the participants’ own experiences, materials, and cases. The second meeting was more practical than the first one.

The presentations were translated into Russian and copied to the participants by the organizer together with other materials. The technical equipment and the interpreter worked perfectly. The lectures were videotaped and will be edited and saved on the EII webpage ( External link, opens in new window.).


The participants reported on their experiences of the workshop at the end of day 1, 3, and 5. Before the workshop, they had limited experience of the ICF-CY as a whole. They had no access to the ICF-CY book with chapters, categories and codes, but some had used their own translation of the adult version as a framework on an overall level.

Based on the ICF-CY model, participants could already the first day understand the new approach to disability. They acknowledged the focus on child participation and realized the impact of the environment. They saw how the integration of the social model and the medical model can make everyone leave the construct of ‘invalidity’ and how this approach could support their encounters with families and partner organizations.

The presentations were evaluated as scientific and evidence-based. Participants found everything understandable and appreciated the structure of the material and the content. Their questions had been answered clearly and the group cooperated well. They had got much knowledge that would be possible to use on different levels of functioning of a team.

ICF-CY had changed the participants’ perceptions of interventions and highlighted the need of enhanced focus on activities/participation and environment in assessment and intervention planning. The biggest barrier to start using the classification was clearly language. The ICF-CY lacks an official translation into Russian that is accepted by the WHO.

Finally, it seems as we managed to provide necessary knowledge about the practical implementation of the ICF in assessment and intervention. However, as everywhere else, the participants commented on the need of time to learn about the classification and reflect on the utility, and to get feedback from the lecturers.

For more information about ICF-CY Workshops, please contact