ICF Core Sets for Autism Spectrum Disorder and for Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder

In 2013, the ICF Research Branch and the Center of Neurodevelopmental Disorders at Karolinska Institutet (KIND) initiated a research collaboration to develop the ICF Core Sets for autism spectrum disorders (ASD) and also for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) that culminated in the first version of these ICF Core Sets. These separate but related ICF Core Set projects were actively supported by international, multiprofessional steering committees. Since some of the steering committee members had expertise in both ASD and ADHD, several of them served on both committees.

These ICF Core Sets were developed as the basis for developing tools for the assessment and follow-up of persons with ASD and ADHD respectively. The project team decided to use the ICF version for children and youth (ICF-CY) for both projects, since it not only includes all of the categories of the reference classification ICF, it also captures the particular characteristics of the developing child. 

Consistent with the guidelines for developing ICF Core Sets [1] each ICF Core Set project comprised of four preparatory studies (scoping review of scientific literature, qualitative study, internet-based survey of international experts, multicentre cross-sectional study) that provided the “evidence” for deciding on the first version of the ICF Core Sets during back-to-back consensus conferences in September 2016. As with the steering committees, several participants were experts in both ASD and ADHD; thus they attended both consensus conferences.

The multi-stage consensus conference for ASD resulted in five different ICF Core Sets all at the 2nd level:

  • comprehensive version containing 111 categories
  • common brief version with 60 categories
  • brief version for pre-school age children from 0-5 years old with 73 categories
  • brief version for school age children from 6-16 years old with 81 categories
  • brief version for adults 17 years old and older with 79 categories

For details about the ASD core set project, see the publications outlining the results of the preparatory studies [2-5] and the consensus conference [6].

Like for ASD, there are also five ICF Core Sets for ADHD, also all at the 2nd level:

  • comprehensive version contains 72 categories
  • common brief set with 38 categories
  • brief version for pre-school age children from 0-5 years old comprising 47 categories
  • brief version for school age children from 6-16 years old with 55 categories
  • brief version for adults 17 years old and older with 52 categories

Detailed information about the preparatory studies and the consensus conference can be found in the published papers [7-11] 

For quesions about the ICF Core Sets for ASD and for ADHD, please feel free to contact the project leader Prof. Sven Bölte, .

  1. Selb M, Escorpizo R, Kostanjsek N, Stucki G, Ustün B, Cieza A. A guide on how to develop an ICF core set. Eur J Phys Rehabil Med. 2015;5(1):105-17. Abstract
  2. de Schipper E, et al. Ability and Disability in Autism Spectrum Disorder: A Systematic Literature Review Employing the ICF-Children and Youth Version. Autism Res. 2015; 8(6):782-94. Abstract
  3. de Schipper E, et al. Functioning and disability in autism spectrum disorder: A worldwide survey of experts. Autism Res. 2016; 9(9):959-69. Abstract
  4. Mahdi S, et al. An International Qualitative Study of Functioning in Autism Spectrum Disorder Using the World Health Organization ICF Framework. Autism Res. 2018;11(3):463-75. Abstract
  5. Mahdi S, et al. An International Clinical Study of Ability and Disability in Autism Spectrum Disorder Using the WHO-ICF Framework. J Autism Dev Disord. 2018; 48(6):2148-2163. Abstract
  6. Bölte S, et al. The Gestalt of functioning in autism spectrum disorder: Results of the international conference to develop final consensus ICF core sets. Autism. 2018. Abstract
  7. de Schipper E, et al. A comprehensive scoping review of ability and disability in ADHD using the ICF-Children and Youth Version (ICF-CY). Eur Child Adolesc Psychiatry. 2015; 24(8): 859-872. Abstract
  8. Mahdi S, et al. An international qualitative study of ability and disability in ADHD using the WHO-ICF framework. Eur Child Adolesc Psychiatry. 2017;26:1219-31. Abstract
  9. de Schipper E, et al. Towards an ICF core set for ADHD: a worldwide expert survey on ability and disability. Eur Child Adolesc Psychiatry. 2015; 24(12): 1509-1521. Abstract
  10. Mahdi S, et al. An international clinical study of ability and disability in ADHD using the WHO-ICF framework. Eur Child Adolesc Psychiatry. 2018 Feb 17. Abstract
  11. Bölte S, et al. Standardised assessment of functioning in ADHD: consensus on the ICF Core Sets for ADHD. Eur Child Adolesc Psychiatry. 2018. Abstract