Washington Group on Disability Statistics

Fourth Meeting

September 29-October 1, 2004. Bangkok, Thailand.



The fourth meeting of the Washington Group on Disability Statistics was held 29 September to 1 October in Bangkok, Thailand. The meeting was organized in 7 sessions comprised of presentations of draft position papers followed by focused discussion addressing specific session objectives. Session outcomes included key agreements, products, and a work plan.



  • Present work on development of the general disability measure (workgroup 1).
  • Discuss the proposed plan for implementing the general disability measure (workgroup 2).
  • Discuss the proposed approach for development of extended measurement sets (workgroup 3).
  • Discuss methodological issues related to full population coverage.
  • Discuss strategic issues.


Detailed Meeting Program


Day 1: Wednesday, September 29, 2004

  • Session 1 – Welcoming remarks; update on UNESCAP activities relative to disability measurement and statistics; review of developments since the last meeting and review of objectives and agenda for the 4th meeting.
  • Session 2 – Workgroup 1 will present a draft set of general questions on disability (short form) to be used primarily in census formats related to the purpose of assessing equalization of opportunity. This group was charged with developing a list of measurement domains and criteria to rank domains for potential inclusion, determining if inclusion of a severity indicator is necessary, and addressing the issue of accommodations. Presentation of the proposal will be followed by formal commentary and open discussion.
  • Session 3 – Workgroup 2 will present a paper proposing method/s for implementing the general disability measure (short form). Elements of the proposal will address the issues of pilot testing, translation, enumerator training, and comparability. Presentation of the proposal will be followed by formal commentary and open discussion.

Day 2: Thursday, September 30, 2004

  • Session 4 – Workgroup 3 will present a paper proposing an approach for development of extended measurement set/s related to the general disability measure/s. Elements of the proposal will address the purpose of the extended set/s, the relationship to the general measure, the required characteristics of the set/s, identification of existing questions (survey items) to be considered, the process for including persons with disabilities in developing the extended set/s, methodological and implementation issues, and identification of next steps. Presentation of the proposal will be followed by formal commentary and open discussion.
  • Session 5 – The session leader will direct a discussion of methodological issues related to inclusion of special populations (such as the institutionalized population and children) on surveys and censuses in order to obtain full population coverage and on the implications of differential coverage on disability statistics. The session will be followed by open discussion.

Day 3: Friday, October 1, 2004

  • Session 6 – The Steering Committee chair will lead a discussion on strategic issues including (but not limited to) a proposed long-range work plan for the WG; a plan for provision of technical assistance to requesting countries; a plan for regional meetings including the timeline and location; and the identification of next steps. An update on the status of the World Bank Development Grant Facility (DGF) for strengthening disability statistics will also be provided.
  • Session 7 – Outline next steps, including the objectives for the 5th meeting and meeting closure.



Papers and Presentations


Workgroup Contacts

Four workgroups will address major next steps of the WG. Chairs have been identified for each workgroup. The chairs serve as the contact for each group. Information on the workgroup topics and chairs is provided below. WG members who wish to volunteer to participate in one of these groups, please contact the workgroup chairs.

  • Workgroup on General Measure/s
    Chair: Barbara Altman, USAThe group has generated a draft set of questions (short form) related to the purpose of assessing equalization of opportunities. Revised wording and documentation of an accompanying rationale statement are the main next steps for the group.
  • Workgroup on Implementation
    Chair: Joseph Muli-Kalavi, Kenya, International Development ProjectThis new group will work in conjunction with a consultant to develop six protocols necessary to effectively implement the general disability measure. The protocols include: 1) establishing objectives and an evaluation plan for cognitive and pilot testing; 2) establishing plans for report writing including tabulation and analysis; 3) establishing plans for cognitive testing; 4) translation; 5) enumerator training; and 6) sample design issues. Existing protocols will be used for reference.
  • Workgroup on Extended Measure/s
    Chair: Marijke de Kleijn, The NetherlandsThe group will initiate development of the first extended set of measures on disability related to the purpose of equalization of opportunities. The extended set is intended as a module that will go into other existing national surveys. Justification for the extended set will be specified. The workgroup will identify indicators that will be used to demonstrate equalization of opportunities. Members of the workgroup will develop a paper examining the domains of participation and environment and how they relate to the proposed extended set.
  • Workgroup on Methodological Issues
    Chair: Howard Meltzer, United KingdomThis new group will address the topic of full population coverage as well as other methodological issues including the effects of proxy and non-response, the effects of questionnaire administration mode, and harmonization of health and disability data using modern calibration techniques. The group will examine whether it is feasible to include subpopulations often excluded from national surveys and whether the proposed questions on disability are relevant for these populations.


Executive Summary



Beth Rasch (for agenda and meeting content)
National Center for Health Statistics
3311 Toledo Road, Room 6110
Hyattsville, MD 20782
Telephone: 301-458-4248
Fax: 301-458-4037
Email: Erasch@cdc.gov

Lene Mikkelsen (for local arrangements)
Chief, Statistics Development Section
Statistics Division, ESCAP
United Nations Building
Rajadamnern Ave., Bangkok 10200
Telephone: 66 2288-1653
Fax: (66) 2288-1082
Email: Mikkelsen@un.org