Adaptive Behavior: Everything You Need to Know

This term refers to a constellation of skills developed so as to function optimally on a daily basis. Adaptive behaviors include skills such as getting dressed, grooming, avoiding danger, following school rules, safe food handling, making friends, managing money, etc. It also includes taking personal responsibility, practicing social skills, and the ability to work. For preschoolers, adaptive skills include the area of self-help skills such as using spoons, getting drinks from the faucet independently, putting on coats with assistance, opening doors by turning handles, etc.

As kids grow older, they should be able to engage in gradually more complicated adaptive behaviors. While a kindergartener may practice the art of tying gym shoes, a fourth-grader may learn to bring the school money to the school. A seventh-grader may be able to manage household chores, such as mopping the kitchen floor or laundry. A secondary school student may be able to use public transportation or prepare meals.

Adaptive behavior assessments are often utilized in evaluations of students with learning disabilities. These assessments can help decide the children’s behavioral strengths and weaknesses that need to be addressed to improve these students’ chances to succeed in both school and life. Adaptive behavior is generally assessed utilizing questionnaires completed by teachers, social workers, parents, students (when appropriate and possible), or adult learners. It can also be evaluated based on observations of a kid’s actual performance of a particular skill. It isn’t uncommon for students with learning disabilities to need specially designed instruction to develop adaptive behaviors. This instruction focuses on helping them develop study skills, planning, and organizational skills, which are all crucial adaptive behaviors. Usually, educators set goals from the key adaptive skills categories to improve a kid’s chances for personal and academic success.

The Adaptive Behavior Diagnostic Scale structure includes three domains: conceptual, practical, and social skills, and each domain comprises 50 discrete adaptive skills.

Conceptual skills: These include reading, numbers, money, communication, and time skills.

Practical skills: These include feeding, dressing, bathing, navigational skills, and occupational skills.

Social skills: These skills include obeying laws, understanding and following social rules and customs, and identifying the motivations of others to avoid deception and victimization.

Today, most kids have fewer responsibilities than children did 100 years ago when they had many difficult duties. While society has become more protective of kids today, the solution isn’t to deprive them of all responsibilities. By giving kids age-appropriate tasks, parents and caregivers can increase the chances that children will be able to engage in adaptive behaviors.

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