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Adaptive Functioning

Adaptive functioning refers to coping with everyday environmental demands and includes daily living skills that people perform to care for themselves and to interact with others. The measurement of an individual’s adaptive behavior reflects his or her competence to perform daily activities required for personal and social sufficiency. The terms adaptive functioning and adaptive behavior are often used interchangeably. Adaptive functioning is defined by typical performance, not ability. Although ability is necessary to perform everyday activities, adaptive behavior is inadequate if the ability is not demonstrated when it is required.

Thus, the adequacy of the adaptive behavior is assessed by people with whom an individual regularly interacts across settings. Adaptive functioning is directly related to many outcomes, including employment, friendship, and community engagement. This entry summarizes ...

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