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Adaptive Behavior and Skills: Professional Standards, Assessment, and Uses. Conceptual Foundations of Adaptive Skills Assessment.
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Adaptive Behavior and Skills: Professional Standards, Assessment, and Uses
Adaptive skills assessment has been important in a data-based, decision-making model of psychological, educational, social, and rehabilitative services. A data-based, decision-making model is applicable for: • assessing daily functional adaptive skills • identifying deficits or problems in adaptive skills • designing and implementing interventions for increasing adaptive skills • monitoring the effectiveness of adaptive skill interventions
An emphasis on adaptive skills, not merely the more general concept of adaptive behavior, is needed to better promote functional development.
Adaptive skills comprise everyday competence. Adaptive skills are defined as practical, everyday skills needed to function and meet the demands of one's environment, including the skills necessary to effectively and independently take care of oneself and to interact with other people.
Adaptive skills have been closely tied to mental retardation. Deficits in adaptive skills, in addition to subaverage intelligence, have been included as part of definitions of mental retardation by the AAMR, DSM–IV, and IDEA.
The 1992 definition of mental retardation from the AAMR placed greater emphasis on adaptive skills than previous AAMR definitions: “Mental retardation refers to substantial limitations in present functioning. It is characterized by significantly subaverage intellectual functioning, existing concurrently with related limitations in two or more of the following applicable adaptive skill areas: communication, self-care, home living, social skills, community use, self-direction, health and safety, functional academics, leisure, and work. Mental retardation manifests before age 18” (AAMR, 1992, p. 5).
Mental Retardation is a disability characterized by significant limitations both in intellectual functioning and in adaptive behavior as expressed in conceptual, social, and practical adaptive skills. This disability originates before age 18. Mental retardation is a disability characterized by significant limitations both in intellectual functioning and in adaptive behavior as expressed in conceptual, social, and practical adaptive skills. This disability originates before age 18.
Implications of AAMR’s 2002 definition of mental retardation
Limitations in present functioning must be considered within the context of community environments, including schools and homes, typical of the individual’s age peers and culture.
Within an individual, limitations often coexist with strengths (i.e., studies that examine a person’s pattern of scores is likely to reveal a person’s relative strengths).
A person’s personal life functioning generally will improve with appropriate personalized education and support provided over a sustained time period.
Adaptive Behavior is important to Current Neuropsychological Approaches • lesion guessing game is over due to neuroimaging methods • new focus: the impact of cerebral dysfunction on executive and adaptive skills
Although adaptive skills traditionally have been associated with mental retardation, adaptive skills are important for all individuals, including individuals with disabilities or with other mental, physical, and social difficulties.
Adaptive skills should be assessed routinely for individuals who have difficulties that could interfere with daily functioning.
For example, individuals with the following difficulties may haveproblems with daily functioning. Adaptive skills assessment may provide important information for diagnosis and in planning treatment or other interventions: • developmental delays • social-emotional disorders • attention disorders • behavior disorders • brain disorders and injuries • sensory or motor impairment • learning disorders and disabilities
Adaptive skill measures should assess a comprehensive range of skills. AAMR identifies 10 adaptive skill areas. The ABAS-II assesses these 10 plus motor development.
Communication Speech, language, and listening skills needed for communication with other people, including vocabulary, responding to questions, conversation skills, etc.
Community Use Skills needed for functioning in the community, including use of community resources, shopping skills, getting around in the community, etc.
Functional Academics Basic reading, writing, mathematics, and other academic skills needed for daily, independent functioning, including telling time, measurement, writing notes and letters, etc.
Home Living Skills needed for basic care of a home or living setting, including cleaning, straightening, property maintenance and repairs, food preparation, performing chores, etc.
Health and Safety Skills needed for protection of health and to respond to illness and injury, including following safety rules, using medicines, showing caution, etc.
Leisure Skills needed for engaging in and planning leisure and recreational activities, including playing with others, engaging in recreation at home, following rules in games, etc.
Self-Care Skills needed for personal care including eating, dressing, bathing, toileting, grooming, hygiene, etc.
Self-Direction Skills needed for independence, responsibility, and self-control, including starting and completing tasks, keeping a schedule, following time limits, following directions, making choices, etc.
Social Skills needed to interact socially and get along with other people, including having friends, showing and recognizing emotions, assisting others, and using manners.
Work Skills needed for successful functioning and holding a part-time or full-time job in a work setting, including completing work tasks, working with supervisors, and following a work schedule.
Motor SkillsFine and Gross Motor Development is included in the ABAS–II for children ages0–5
The Conceptual skill domain includes: Communication Functional Academics Self-Direction The Social skilldomain includes: Social Skills Leisure The Practical skilldomain includes: Self-care Home/School Living Community Use Health and Safety Work
Motor skill scores contribute to the General Adaptive Composite but not to the adaptive domains.
Thus, one can utilize data from each of the 10 adaptive skill areas, three adaptive skill domains (i.e., Conceptual, Social, and Practical skills ) and the General Adaptive Composite (GAC).
Assessment within a data-based, decision-making model attempts to link assessment with interventions and other needed services.The use of assessment to diagnose is not sufficient.
Traditional and currenttrends in assessment Assumptions about behavior: • Traditional: Behavior is stable. • Current: Behavior is dynamic. Assumptions about focus of assessment: • Traditional: Past and present • Current: Present and future
TRADITIONAL Use paper/pencil Test simulated outcomes Judge attainment in light of behavioral objectives Emphasize summative evaluation CURRENT Use multi-sources, methods, and traits displayed in multiple settings Test authentic outcomes Judge attainment in light of developmental outcomes Emphasize formative evaluation Assumptions about theassessment process
Comprehensive assessment within a data-based, decision-making model includes: · Multiple domains · Multiple environments · Across time · Multiple methods · Multiple sources of information
The use of rating scales is just one method of assessment within a data-based, decision-making model.
Rating Scale Advantages • allow for a comprehensive assessment of a large number of adaptive skills • involve important informants in the assessment process. • obtain information from multiple perspectives and multiple sources of information. • focus on adaptive skills occurring in naturalistic settings. • provide information about what a client actually does and how often he or she does it when needed at home, school, community, and work settings • considered to be one of the most valid, practical, and efficient techniques for assessing adaptive skills.
Rating Scale Limitations • Ratings for individual items reflect a summary of the relative frequency, rather than exact frequency, of the client’s skills. • Ratings reflect respondent’s standards for skills that may differ from respondent to respondent and setting to setting. • Thus, use of multiple respondents assists in providing information from different perspectives. • Respondent’s ratings may be influenced by characteristics of the client (e.g., appearance, ability, background) other than the trait being assessed. • Ratings reflect the respondent’s perceptions and honesty in communicating these perceptions.
Selection ofAdaptive Behavior Scales • There are a number of adaptive behavior scales with good psychometric and clinical properties. • For each individual client, professionals should select the instrument(s) in light of a client’s characteristics and purposes of assessment.
ABAS–II is based on three sources of information: • A conception of adaptive skills promoted for many years by the American Association on Mental Retardation (1992, 2002) • Legal and professional standards applicable to a number of special education and disability classification systems, such as state special education regulations, IDEA (Department of Education,1997), and DSM–IV–TR (2000); • Research investigating diagnosis and intervention for people with various disabilities. The three sources of information are uniform in their conclusion that every person requires a repertoire of skills in order to meet the daily demands and expectations of his or her environment.
General Description • Assesses the 10 areas of adaptive skills specified by AAMR (1992, 2002). • Measures adaptive skills in the multiple environments in which individuals of various ages may participate, including home, school, community, and work settings. • Multi-informant—Provides separate forms for parents, teachers, and adults. Users of the instrument may elect to use one or some combination of the three rating forms, depending on their needs of assessment.
Norms for ages 0–89 were established using large standardization samples stratified according to 1999 and 2000 census data. • Each form is designed in a checklist format that can be completed by a teacher/daycare worker, parent, or adult. • The ABAS–II can be completed in about 15–20 minutes and scored in about 5 minutes. • Separate scores are provided for each of the 10 areas of adaptive skills and three domains, facilitating analysis of strength and weakness across these areas. • A General Adaptive Composite also is provided.
Applications • To provide a comprehensive, norm-referenced assessment of adaptive skills for diagnosis, classification, and planning programs. • To assist in the assessment of individuals with known or suspected difficulties in daily adaptive skills needed to function effectively in their environment, especially individuals with mental retardation. • To assist in the assessment of individuals with known or suspected disabilities in other areas, including learning, behavior, medical, psychological, and neuropsychological disorders. • To assist in program planning. • To assist in research, program monitoring, and evaluation.
Parent/Primary Caregiver Form (Ages 0–5) The infant-preschool version of the parent form may be completed by parents or other primary-care providers of children ages birth to 5 years. This form is available in Spanish.
Parent Form (Ages 5–21)The school-age version of the parent form may be completed by parents or other primary-care providers of children in grades kindergarten (K)–12 or ages 5–21 years. This form is available in Spanish.
Teacher/Day Care Provider Form (Ages 2–5)The infant-preschool version of the teacher form may be completed by teachers, teacher’s aides, daycare instructors, and other daycare or child-care providers of children ages 2–5 years.