A Rights-Based Approach for Service Providers to Measure the Quality of Life of Children with a Disability



This paper identifies the best instruments for service providers to measure the quality of life (QoL) of children with a disability, with a focus on their alignment with the Convention on the Rights of Persons with a Disability (CRPD).


This study reviewed systematic reviews to identify generic QoL instruments for children and adolescents, followed by an appraisal process using newly developed criteria. QoL instruments with a health status, functioning, and condition-specific focus were excluded.


Twenty generic QoL instruments for children were identified from existing systematic reviews to undergo further review. Only 2 of the 20 instruments were recommended for service providers to measure the QoL of children with a disability (KIDSCREEN and KINDL). Many pediatric QoL instruments (N = 9) focus on functioning and are not consistent with the CRPD, confounding a child’s functioning with their feelings about their life. KIDSCREEN and KINDL have self-report and parent report versions, are applicable for childhood and adolescence, demonstrate adequate reliability and validity, involved children in their development, focus on wellbeing, are likely to be able to be completed by a child with a disability, and are low in cost.


Many instruments focus on functioning rather than wellbeing and thus may not capture the QoL of children with a disability. A child’s functional limitations may not be consistent with their feelings about life. Two instruments that assess wellbeing and meet the criteria important for service providers now require further testing to explore their usefulness and validity for children with varying abilities.


Elise Davis Dana Young Kim-Michelle Gilson Elena Swift Jeffrey Chan Lisa Gibbs Utsana Tonmukayakul Dinah Reddihough Katrina Williams

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