The measurement of functional impairment has become far more than an academic enterprise given the current demand for clinical evaluations of disability status. Individuals seeking access to legal accommodations in school or at work are pursuing assessments that establish their qualification as having a disability. To satisfy those requests, clinicians have to understand how the law defines disability and the level of documentation required to establish that an individual has a disability. These legal definitions of disability push clinicians to shift focus from the familiar terrain of symptom counts and psychological test scores to the less-well-tread path of assessing impairment in actual functioning.
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