What is an example of adaptive behavior?

In this blog we will answer the question “What is an example of adaptive behavior?”

We will also discuss what adaptive behavior is, the types of adaptive behavior. We will also briefly explore how adaptive behavior is measured and what it means if a child is not adapting.

What is an example of adaptive behavior?

Examples of various types of adaptive behavior skills include:

  • Communication Skills such as an individual’s ability to verbalize their messages, communicate clearly and effectively, read verbal and nonverbal cues, understand and hear other people’s communication etc. 
  • Self-Care such as self grooming, maintaining proper diet- including the ability to procure and make one’s own meals, toilet use, bathing and hygiene maintenance behaviors such as ability to bathe on one’s own. 
  • Social Skills such as the ability to empathize, understand others, mirror, verbally and nonverbally communicate, listening, observation, making new relationships, maintaining relationships etc. 
  • School/Home Living skills such as being able to meet the academic demands of the school, progressing academically, etc whereas home living skills include Meal preparation and feeding, Mobility and transfer, Toileting, Housekeeping, Laundry, Home safety.
  • Community Use includes being able to use public transport, walk independently, be able to count coins and money, order food in restaurants, eat in public spaces, and be able to understand and follow pedestrian safety measures. 
  • Personal Health and Safety skills include avoiding risks, being able to engage in accident prevention behavioral, Exhibiting self-protection, being cautious and careful and being able to handle emergencies appropriately.
  • Functional academic skills include basic literacy, numeracy skills 
  • Leisure skills that include skills that an individual can use to occupy themselves when they have free time without the help of others. Example, Toy play skills and playful activities, Soccer play etc.

What is adaptive behavior?

Adaptive behavior refers to personal skills that individuals need to be able to function successfully and independently in various contexts such as home, school, work, and community.

The American Association on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (AAIDD) defines adaptive behavior as,

“…the collection of conceptual, social and practical skills that individuals need to function in their daily lives.” (AAIDD)

Thus, according to this definition, adaptive skills include the ability to understand concepts and solve problems related to their concepts in one’s life, social skills such as effectively communicating and other intrapersonal skills, and also, practical skills such as skills that are required to meet one’s needs like cooking, maintaining hygiene etc. 

Other definitions of adaptive behavior also include the measure of effectiveness- how effective an individual is in meeting the social standards of an individual being independent and to what degree.

In short it refers to a constellation of behavioral skills that allow an individual to function effectively and independently on a daily basis in various contexts. 

Some definitions also include the aspect of social responsibility as part of adaptive behaviors such as being able to engage with the community, maintain the norms and mores of the community, and behave in socially acceptable behaviors, contribute to the economy etc. 

Adaptive behavior is also marked by an individual’s ability to be able to cope and meet the demands of one’s social and natural environment such as being able to care for themselves in terms of health and safety, communicate effectively, and care for their hygiene independently as well.

Adaptive behavior has been a point of discussion when it comes to an individual intellectual and developmental progress, particularly in the context of disabilities. 

It often becomes a point of discussion when an individual- usually a child or teenager does not acquire skills and abilities that are on par with their peers. For example, the child does not form social bonds with classmates by age 5 or the child does not start walking by 18 months and so forth. 

These behaviors are usually learned throughout one’s development and are acted out in response to cultural and societal expectations which often become complex as one ages. 

Adaptive behavior is mostly understood in the context of diagnosis and is  a required diagnostic criterion for defining intellectual and developmental disabilities. 

These behaviors are often assessed in an individual for the purpose of making a diagnosis or for identifying interventional goals and strategies in the context of education or personal development towards independence and making changes for improving their quality of life. 

What are the various types of adaptive behavior skills?

The various types of adaptive behavior skills that are usually considered include:

Communication Skills such as an individual’s ability to verbalize their messages, communicate clearly and effectively, read verbal and nonverbal cues, understand and hear other people’s communication etc. 

Self-Care such as self grooming, maintaining proper diet- including the ability to procure and make one’s own meals, toilet use, bathing and hygiene maintenance behaviors such as ability to bathe on one’s own. 

Social Skills such as the ability to empathize, understand others, mirror, verbally and nonverbally communicate, listening, observation, making new relationships, maintaining relationships etc. 

School/Home Living skills such as being able to meet the academic demands of the school, progressing academically, etc whereas home living skills include Meal preparation and feeding, Mobility and transfer, Toileting, Housekeeping, Laundry, Home safety.

Community Use includes being able to use public transport, walk independently, be able to count coins and money, order food in restaurants, eat in public spaces, and be able to understand and follow pedestrian safety measures. 

Personal Health and Safety skills include avoiding risks, being able to engage in accident prevention behavioral, Exhibiting self-protection, being cautious and careful and being able to handle emergencies appropriately.

Functional academic skills include basic literacy, numeracy skills 

Leisure skills that include skills that an individual can use to occupy themselves when they have free time without the help of others. Example, Toy play skills and playful activities, Soccer play etc.

How can adaptive behavior be assessed?

As mentioned earlier, adaptive behavior often comes up as a point of discussion when it comes to an individual’s intellectual and developmental progress, particularly in the context of disabilities. 

There are various scales that assess individual adaptive behaviors for diagnosis and management planning that are used by professionals. Some of the most commonly used scales include:

  • The Vineland Adaptive behavior scale which is a standardized assessment tool that uses semi-structured interview to measure adaptive behavior for the diagnosis of  intellectual and developmental disabilities, autism, and developmental delays.
  • Adaptive Behavior Assessment System which is used for evaluating developmental delays, autism spectrum disorder, intellectual disability, learning disabilities. 

It has to be mentioned that when the adaptive behaviors of an individual is being assessed, the behaviors included should be age appropriate that are required by individuals of a specific age to have their skills to be able to function safely and appropriately. Also, these behaviors tend to differ according to an individual’s culture and surroundings. 

In education, adaptive behavior is measured in the sense that the behaviors include developmental behaviors that meet the requirements of their stakeholders such as the parents, teacher, and later or future employers of the individual such as the effective speech, literacy, ability to solve problems etc. 

It also includes the behaviors and skills that meet the needs of the individual both in the present and the future such as the ability to communicate effectively, use money, self care etc. 

It is the training of an individual in terms of adaptive behavior which is a major aspect of any educational program; however, it is even more critical in terms of helping children with special needs.

Unusually in the case of such populations, the adaptive behaviors of the individual or the lack of development of adaptive behaviors are measured through structured or semistructured interviews with teachers and parents of the individual who has been affected.

It is for this population that major strides have been made in the research and application of various interventions that help individuals with disabilities to become more independent and perform in ways that significantly improve their quality of life. 

Conclusion

In this blog we have answered the question “What is an example of adaptive behavior?”

We have also discussed what adaptive behavior is, the types of adaptive behavior. We also briefly explore how adaptive behavior is measured and what it means if a child is not adapting.

What is adaptive behavior?

Adaptive behavior refers to personal skills that individuals need to be able to function successfully and independently in various contexts such as home, school, work, and community.


Adaptive behavior is also marked by an individual’s ability to be able to cope and meet the demands of one’s social and natural environment such as being able to care for themselves in terms of health and safety, communicate effectively, and care for their hygiene independently as well.

What is an example of adaptive development?

An example of adaptive development include the ability of a child to be able to engage in self-Care such as self grooming and toilet use, hygiene maintenance behaviors such as ability to bathe on one’s own after a certain age. 

What are the 3 components of adaptive behavior?

According to the definitions of the American Association on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (AAIDD) of adaptive behavior the three components include:

  • ability to understand concepts and solve problems related to their concepts in one’s life.
  • social skills such as effectively communicating and other intrapersonal skills
  • practical skills such as skills that are required to meet one’s needs like cooking, maintaining hygiene etc. 

Is reading an adaptive Behavior?

Yes, reading is an adaptive behavior that is generally considered under the area of functional academic skills.

How do you test adaptive behavior?

Adaptive behavior of an individual is usually assessed and measured through structured or semistructured interviews with teachers and parents of the individual who has been affected.

Some of the most commonly used scales include:

  • The Vineland Adaptive behavior scale which is a standardized assessment tool that uses semi-structured interview to measure adaptive behavior for the diagnosis of  intellectual and developmental disabilities, autism, and developmental delays.
  • Adaptive Behavior Assessment System which is used for evaluating developmental delays, autism spectrum disorder, intellectual disability, learning disabilities. 

References

Lombardi.P.  Adaptive Behavior. Granite State College. Retrieved on 15th Feb 2022. https://granite.pressbooks.pub/understanding-and-supporting-learners-with-disabilities/chapter/adaptive-behavior/

Logsdon.A. Adaptive Behavior for Special Needs Students. Verywell Family. Retrieved on 15th Feb 2022. https://www.verywellfamily.com/what-is-adaptive-behavior-2162501

Zheng S, LeWinn K, Ceja T, Hanna-Attisha M, O’Connell L, Bishop S. Adaptive Behavior as an Alternative Outcome to Intelligence Quotient in Studies of Children at Risk: A Study of Preschool-Aged Children in Flint, MI, USA. Front Psychol. 2021 Aug 11;12:692330. doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2021.692330. PMID: 34456806; PMCID: PMC8385490.

Oakland, Thomas & Harrison, Patti. (2008). Adaptive behaviors and skills. An introduction. Adaptive Behavior Assessment System-II. 1-20. 10.1016/B978-012373586-7.00001-1. 

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