What is the example of Adaptive Behavior?

In this brief guide, we are going to answer the question, “what is an example of adaptive behavior? “and provide an insight into the importance of teaching adaptive behavior.

Adaptive behaviors are real life skills that are age appropriate. They include activities like walking, talking, bathing, feeding, dressing and the like.

These are an assortment of social, conceptual and practical skills and expertise encompassing activities of daily living.

These activities are learnt by individuals naturally at a steady pace and enables them to function in day to day life.

Adaptive skills are one of the diagnostic criteria for diagnosing developmental and intellectual delays or disabilities.

There are people who are born in a special way. They are differently abled. These differently abled people have varying abilities that unfold at a different pace.

The differently abled include people who have physical challenges and those who are intellectually challenged.

These special people suffer from challenges that hinder their abilities to perform tasks of daily living that are age appropriate.

Therefore, the tasks that casually seem easy for others are hard to achieve for these people. They require constant repetitions and a lot of patient teaching.

Adaptive development is the capability of a child related to life skills that are age appropriate.

These kinds of skills are self-care skills, community living and self-sufficiency, personal accountability, and social skills.

At every age there are skills appropriate for that age.

If a child is unable to meet the milestones for the specific age-related skill, then it is diagnosed that the child may be suffering from developmental delays.

What may be an appropriate skill at age 3 years will be very different from what might be considered optimal at 6 years of age.

So, feeding oneself with one’s fingers may be appropriate as a toddler, when at age 5 years, a child should be using a spoon for that same food.

Adaptive development studies how a child is moving through the stages of skill development and whether that child needs assistance to stay up with their peers or meet their personal best outcomes.

Skill Sets of Adaptive Learning

Adaptive learning comprises 3 skill sets. These skill sets are divided according to the domains that enable us to live safely and responsibly.

1.      Conceptual Skills

These include reading, numbers, time concept and money management and Communication skills.

These skills give a basic understanding and the ability to deal with important life functions as dealing with skills that will enable the child or the person to adapt to and become a part of his surroundings.

Conceptual learning is important for the transfer of knowledge regarding direction, location, position, number, quantity, sequence, attributes, dimension, size, similarities and differences.

This enables the person or the child to understand his position relative to others and objects around him.

2.      Social Skills

These skills aid in getting along with people around us.

They are integral for us to follow social norms, customs, traditions and the law of the society in which we live.

It is the society and others around us from whom we get our motivation from as well as our inspiration.

 3.      Practical Skills

These skills include all activities of daily living, including feeding, bathing, dressing, occupational and navigational skills.

These are important for the child to learn to be able to live an independent life. 

Examples of Adaptive Behavior

Adaptive behaviors are real-life skills. Following are examples of adaptive behaviors.

1.  Grooming

2.  Toileting

3.  Getting dressed

4.  Feeding

5.  Avoiding danger

6.  Food handling

7.  Following school rules

8.  Managing money

9.  Cleaning

10.       Making friends

Teaching how to clean oneself, brush hair and teeth, wear clean clothes and make one’s presence neat and presentable.

The special kids have to be taught how to groom themselves and get ready for school and also get ready for daily activities.

Toileting skills are very crucial and an integral part of teaching independent skills to children.

All children need to learn how to use the toilet and maintain personal hygiene.

For the differently abled this phase in life has to be taught with utmost care and constant supervision, till its learnt.

It is one of the most crucial adaptive skills to be learnt to gain independence.   

Wearing clothes independently and knowing when to change as well is vital for the child to learn, so that he/she may learn to get dressed for the day and especially for going to school.

The special kids will learn these adaptive skills with varying degrees of precision.

Each child has a capacity that differs from the other, and it is this capacity that differs him from the other.

Children who are born with developmental delays and one or another kind of disability are the ones who require early intervention to teach them adaptive behaviors.

These children will unfold their pace to learn at different age levels. A child may learn to hold a spoon for self-eating at age 3 and another might hold it when he is 5 years old.

 Diagnosing Adaptive Behavior

There are two diagnostic criteria that determine if a child has intellectual challenges or not.

One is the extent of his intellectual challenge which can be determined by testing his IQ.

The other is adaptive functioning. If there are delays in the child’s milestones then testing these two will enable the specialist to determine how much challenge the child has and an intervention plan can be plotted.

There are various tests that can determine the level of the adaptation of the child.

These are as follows: –

a)      Woodcock-Johnson Scales of Independent Behavior: 

Independent behavior in children is measured through this test.

b)      Vineland Adaptive Behavior Scale (VABS): 

This test measures the social skills of people from birth to 19 years of age. The test comprises four domains, namely communication, daily living skills, socialization, motor skills.

During the test administration, parents or caregivers and not directly on children.

c) The Diagnostic Adaptive Behavior Scale (AAIDD, 2013): This test measures adaptive behavioral skills.

Techniques Used to Facilitate Adaptive Behavior

Occupational Therapy

The basic goal of Occupational Therapy is to improve functional independence.

The children who are born with Autism Spectrum Disorder and learning disabilities require facilitation to enable them to perform tasks of daily living.

Activities like tying shoe laces, zipping and unzipping, gripping for holding objects and gripping for writing, walking and running to name a few.

These skills fall under the domains of fine motor skills and gross motor skills.

  • It is important to learn adaptive skills like fine motor skills so they can grasp and release items or things and develop good handwriting or computer skills.
  • Occupational therapy also improves eye–hand coordination so plays and school skills such as copying from a blackboard and playing games or sports can be accomplished.
  • Learning basic life skills such as bathing, getting dressed, brushing teeth, and self-feeding.
  • Cognitive and emotional development are also a part of adaptive behavior learning, where constructive behaviors and social skills are taught so that anger and frustration can be managed.

Speech Therapy

Speech therapy is the assessment and treatment of communication disorders and problems related to speech.

It helps to enhance communication and also deals with problems in receptive language.

Adaptive behavior requires the child to communicate his needs to the caregiver and for the caregiver to understand what the child wants.

Adaptive behavior of a person may not be directly dependent on speech, but if facilitation is provided then skill acquisition and daily living becomes conducive.  

In this brief guide, we have answered the question, “what is an example of adaptive behavior? “and provided an insight into the importance of teaching adaptive behavior. 

Adaptive behavior skills are a cluster of those skills that are required for the daily living conceptual and practical living of the child so that he becomes an independent functioning entity of the society.   

Frequently Asked Questions

1.      What are some adaptive skills?

The Adaptive skills are areas that encompass Self-Care, Communication Skills, Self-Direction.

2.      What is adaptive behavior in psychology?

Adaptive behavior in psychology means activities or behaviors that help to ensure actions, skills, and behaviors that should be developed to perform basic skills.

3.       What is an adaptive behavior classroom?

Adaptive Behavior classroom is structured classroom setting that is designed for those students who are suffering from emotional and behavioral challenges.

4.       What is an adaptive person?

An adaptive person is a person who is flexible and is willing to adopt according to the situation they are in.

5.       What is adaptive behavior assessment?

The Adaptive Behavior Assessment System, is a standardized assessment tool that is used to assess the functional skills essential for daily living of individuals between the ages of 0 to 89 years.


  •  www.gracepointwellness.org
  •  www.verywellmind.com
  •  www.kvtc.org.uk

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