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Increasing numbers of children are being required to adapt to lifelong illness and disability. While numerous studies exist on theories of adaptation, reaction to illness, and children's concepts of self and of illness, an integrated view of children's ability to conceptualize themselves, their disabilities and possible adaptations has not been formulated. In this article at attempt has been made to integrate models of adaptation to disability and knowledge about children's cognitive development using Piagetian theory of cognitive development and Crate's stages of adaptation to chronic illness. This conceptually integrated model can be used as a departure point for studies to validate the applicability of Piaget's theory to the development of the physically disabled child and to clinically assess the adaptational stages available to the child at various developmental stages.