Washington Group Questions

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The Washington Group (WG) Short Set is a set of questions designed to identify people with functional limitations. The tool can be rapidly and easily deployed in a variety of settings.

The six Washington Group short set Questions are:

  1. Do you have difficulty seeing, even if wearing glasses?
  2. Do you have difficulty hearing, even if using a hearing aid?
  3. Do you have difficulty walking or climbing steps?
  4. Do you have difficulty remembering or concentrating?
  5. Do you have difficulty with self-care such as washing all over or dressing?
  6. Using your usual (customary) language, do you have difficulty communicating, for example understanding or being understood?

Answers:

  1. No - no difficulty
  2. Yes – some difficulty
  3. Yes – a lot of difficulty
  4. Cannot do at all

Important pre-conditions for the effective use of the questions is their professional translation, the training of data collectors and a robust understanding of how to analyse and use the collected data. Training modules are available at Kayaconnect (see below).

Studies show that using the term “disability” in relation to the data collection can lead to unreliable data, because of respondents being reluctant to reveal their functional limitations. Data collectors should avoid any verbal references to ‘disability’ in an introductory statement.

The WG short set has the limitation of not addressing psychosocial or intellectual disabilities and that it can miss a significant number of children with developmental or psychosocial issues. For a question set aimed at identifying a fuller range of childhood disability there is a Child Functioning Question Set, developed in conjunction with UNICEF.

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