The Role of Adaptive Behavior Assessment

Adaptive Behavior: A Social-Cognitive Perspective

In holocene years, existing operational definitions of adaptive behavior and techniques for measuring adaptive demeanor have been criticized as being inadequate for determining the presence of meaning limitations in individuals with balmy mental deceleration. In finical, criticism has focused on the insufficiency of existing techniques for measuring the social domain of adaptive demeanor ( MacMillan et al., in weight-lift ). This attention to and business about the judgment of social behavior is barely surprise, given the outstanding place that social behavior has historically occupied among the domains of daily biography that establish adaptive behavior for individuals with mental retardation. The social domain is particularly important to assess for individuals with balmy mental slowdown because big limitations that these individuals feel are frequently in the knowledge domain of interpersonal relationships, rather than in skill domains that are not predominantly social in nature ( for example, activities of daily live, motive skills ). interestingly, individuals with balmy mental slowdown frequently face their most significant obstacles to competitive use and job retentiveness arising not from task-related skills, but preferably from limitations in their social operation ( Bullis & Foss, 1986 ; Butterworth & Strauch, 1994 ; Chadsey-Rusch, 1992 ; Foss & Bostwick, 1981 ; Greenspan & Shoultz, 1981 ; Salzberg et al., 1988 ; Salzberg, Likins et al., 1986 ). A major reason why proper judgment of the social domain of adaptive behavior can be a challenge for eligibility examiners is that the limitations in social serve in individuals with balmy genial retardation are much difficult to quantify with available judgment methods. Often, these limitations take the form of poor judgment or sociable rule violations, quite than markedly maladaptive behavior ( Greenspan & Granfield, 1992 ). As Switzky et alabama. ( 1996 ) put it, “ relatively green, as opposed to deviant, sociable demeanor has constantly been the central distinguish sport of this disability ” ( pp. 7-8 ). Furthermore, these limitations may be more detectable in certain settings or circumstances than in others ( Greenspan, 1999 ). For example, an individual with balmy mental slowdown may be familiar with the routines and may benefit from the supports that staff provide in the monitor apartment platform in which he lives. however, he may have difficulty keeping a subcontract because he has difficulties interacting with a changing hurl of coworkers or customers who are unfamiliar with his social style. distinctly, examiners need to be concerned about whether available instruments and practices for assessing adaptive behavior adequately document critical difficulties in social operation that prevent individuals with mild mental slowdown from fulfilling key roles and expectations in company. At give, a variety of assessment instruments have been employed in research and clinical settings that attempt to capture these individuals ‘ social limitations. The available instruments include indirect assessments, such as evaluation scales that assess an individual ‘s distinctive performance of social behaviors based on information from informants, including teachers, parents, and job coaches, arsenic well as instruments that permit lineal assessment of the processes that, according to theoretical models of successful sociable adaptation, underlie the ability to perform situationally appropriate behavior. With regard to the direct assessment of processes, the overarching construct of social cognition has been put forth by developmentalists over the past four decades ( for example, Crick & Dodge, 1994 ; Dodge, 1986 ; McFall, 1982 ; Trower, 1982 ). sociable cognition encompasses such constructs as social problem solving ( Spivack & Shure, 1974 ), decision take ( Hickson & Khemka, 1999 ), and social and emotional memorize ( Elias et al., 1997 ). Overall, the construct of social cognition represents the cognitive aspects of social functioning.

As social cognition has matured as a research discipline, researchers have developed methodologies for assessing social-cognitive processes and have demonstrated the utility of these methodologies for detecting the limitations that individuals with meek mental retardation parade in their ability to adapt to changing sociable situations. presently, instruments and interviewing procedures for assessing social-cognitive processes can provide examiners with valuable auxiliary information about the social officiate of individuals with genial slowdown. This data may otherwise be lacking because of inadequacies in existing adaptive behavior measures. In addition, social-cognitive assessment can besides be helpful in establishing that an individual ‘s social problems are indeed a manifestation of an fundamental cognitive damage ( in accord with standard definitions of mental deceleration ), preferably than chiefly reflecting other factors, such as environmental constraints or motivational characteristics. therefore, social-cognitive assessment increases the likelihood of making accurate diagnostic and disability determination decisions by increasing the pool of information available to an examiner regarding an individual ‘s functional limitations, while simultaneously reducing the gamble of “ fake positive ” decisions. The likely utility of social-cognitive appraisal techniques for the evaluation of individuals with balmy mental deceleration for eligibility determination purposes is apparent in focusing on three major skill areas : social perception, the generation of strategies for resolving social problems, and consequential remember. These three processes occupy a outstanding place in most theoretical models of social cognition ( for example, Crick & Dodge, 1994 ; Gumpel, 1994 ; Leffert & Siperstein, in bid ; McFall, 1982 ). Social perception refers to an individual ‘s ability to interpret or “ read ” relevant social messages from others ( Maheady et al., 1984 ). These messages, known as sociable cues, dwell of verbal and gestural stimulation, such as physical actions, words, facial expressions, timbre of voice, and body speech, which tell about others ‘ behaviors, feelings, and intentions. Individuals with mental deceleration often attest difficulties at the most basic tied of recognizing specific types of social cues ( for example, recognizing a person ‘s emotional submit on the basis of his or her facial formulation ) ( Adams & Markham, 1991 ; Gumpel & Wilson, 1996 ; Harris, 1977 ; Hobson et al., 1989 ). research with children and adolescents with mental retardation has found that they besides have trouble integrating information from multiple cues in order to interpret a social situation ( Brosgole et al., 1986 ; Doman, 1967 ; Gomez & Hazeldine, 1996 ; Leffert & Siperstein, 1996 ; Leffert et al., 2000 ; Maheady et al., 1984 ). The appraisal of social perception skills in individuals with mild mental retardation has involved a variety show of instruments, with subsequent methodological refinements, which have been developed and employed over four decades with children, adolescents, and adults. For case, the Test of Social Inference ( TSI—de Jung et al., 1973 ) employs the technique of presenting an individual with balmy mental deceleration with illustrations of common social situations and asking him or her, for each example, to tell the examiner what the movie is about. Of the diverse social perception assessment instruments that have been developed, the TSI is the musical instrument that has been used most widely to assess sociable perception skills in this population ( de Jung et al., 1973 ; Matthias & Nettelbeck, 1992 ). The second social-cognitive process is the coevals of strategies for resolving social problems. Through the judgment of strategy generation, researchers have been able to evaluate an individual ‘s fund of social cognition ( i.e., his or her repertoire of social strategies ), adenine well as the ability to adapt to varied social situations by generating situationally allow strategies. research with individuals with mental retardation has systematically documented limitations in their performance of both of these components of scheme generation. Regarding scheme repertoires, for model, researchers have found that children and adults with mental retardation have a limit repertoire of allow social strategies to draw from ( Herman & Shantz, 1983 ; Smith, 1986 ). Their repertoires frequently exclude certain types of socially adaptive strategies. For exercise, they rarely employ the strategy of attempting to work out a mutually acceptable compromise solution in instances when one ‘s interests conflict with another person ‘s wishes ( Hickson & Khemka, 1999 ; Hickson et al., 1998 ; Jenkinson & Nelms, 1994 ; Smith, 1986 ).

Regarding the ability to adjust one ‘s social strategies to fit the needs of a detail social situation, children with balmy mental retardant frequently fail to use data from the specific social cues present in the social position to guide their search for appropriate strategies ( Leffert et al., 2000 ). As a leave, they often rely on generic, one-size-fits-all strategies, such as appealing to an authority, preferably than adjusting their strategies in accord with situational demands. At the workplace, for exercise, overdependence on the strategy of appealing to a supervisory program, careless of the nature of the problem, can be a problem in creating tension with peers or in creating a perception that the person can not function autonomously in a work setting. Unlike the area of social percept, there is no single instrument for assessing scheme genesis in individuals with mental deceleration. rather, there is a standard clinical methodology that consists of presenting the individual with a hypothetical situation in the form of a narrative and asking “ What would you do if this happened to you ? ” The Social Problem-Solving Test ( Castles & Glass, 1986 ) is an exemplar of an appraisal instrument employing this methodology that was specifically designed for use with individuals with mental slowdown. The technique of asking open-ended questions that tap the action of generating strategies for solving problems is wide used in standard assessments of cerebral officiate, such as the Wechsler scales. The third social-cognitive process, consequential intend ( i.e., reasoning regarding the consequences of carrying out different social strategies ), is besides a critical march in the adaptive demeanor of individuals with balmy genial retardation. late studies with these individuals have documented limitations in their reason about the consequences of strategies that make it unmanageable for them to select a social strategy that is appropriate for a given social situation. Rather than weighing the likely outcomes of enacting a particular scheme in a given situation, these individuals tend to render ball-shaped judgments ( for example, whether a scheme is generally a good thing or bad thing to do ) when evaluating behavioral options. consequently, they have difficulty evaluating which likely strategy is best to enact in a especial position ( Hickson et al., 1998 ; Jenkinson & Nelms, 1994 ). Methodologies for assessing consequential reasoning have existed for several decades. A widely used technique, which was first employed by Spivack and Shure ( 1974 ), is to present the individual with a fib describing a social trouble, a well as a particular strategy that the supporter might use to resolve the trouble. The person is then asked, “ What will happen after ” the protagonist carries out this strategy ? Another, more open-ended assessment technique is to present a social problem and then to ask the interviewee to relate everything that is going through the protagonist ‘s mind as he or she tries to decide what to do about resolving the trouble ( for example, Hickson et al., 1998 ; Jenkinson & Nelms, 1994 ). A third approach is to ask individuals with meek mental deceleration to select the best strategy for resolving a social problem from among respective alternatives. This is the approach that has been utilized in the trial of Interpersonal Competence for Employment ( TICE—Foss et al., 1986 ). The TICE, which is commercially available, consists of two subtests that assess the individual ‘s ability to evaluate strategies in relation to the situational demands of two distinct social interaction context common in oeuvre settings : interaction with coworkers and interaction with supervisors. Auty and colleagues ( 1987 ) have found positive correlations between subtest scores on the TICE and supervisor-rated ferment skills, self-reported job satisfaction, and proletarian productiveness among adults with meek mental retardant. Social-cognitive assessments have already demonstrated their utility as a append to standard adaptive behavior rat scales. They have provided valuable data that has informed decision making about interventions to improve the social functioning of individuals with mental slowdown. specifically, instruments such as the TSI, the Social Problem-Solving Test ( Castles & Glass, 1986 ), and the TICE have been successfully employed with this population for the purposes of determining where to begin education in sociable skills and documenting the improvements that have resulted from instructional interventions. These assessment instruments, which have been utilitarian in instructional context, can besides be valuable for the evaluation of an individual ‘s eligibility for SSA services.

The social-cognitive processes and the approaches that are used to measure them can besides inform and enrich the interviews that examiners conduct with individuals with mild mental retardant and early informants. presents examples of questions that can guide examiners in eliciting data regarding the three social-cognitive processes reviewed here. By eliciting information about an individual ‘s performance of these processes, the examiner can increase the likelihood of detecting impairments in social officiate that often characterize this population. extra measures of sociable cognition or social skills and issues relevant to social skills assessment of people with mental retardant have been discussed further ( Bell-Dolan & Allan, 1998 ; Blacher, 1982 ; Blake & Andrasik, 1986 ; Jackson et al., 1981 ; Matson et al., 1983 ; Meyer et al., 1990 ; Monti, 1983 ; Smith & Greenberg, 1979 ; Van Hasselt et al., 1981 ) .


Question Guide for the Assessment of Social-Cognitive Processes. overall, as a append to standardized adaptive behavior appraisal scales, social-cognitive judgment has the potential to contribute to the improvement of SSI and DI eligibility determination practices by enriching the pool of relevant information that is available for resolving uncertainty in decisions regarding damage in the sociable domain. In this manner, the assessment of social-cognitive processes can become part of a more comprehensive approach to individual assessment that includes information from informants about daily demeanor, angstrom well as send assessment of skills of a social-cognitive nature. The information obtained from this type of evaluation can clarify the nature and extent of the limitations those individuals with balmy genial slowdown experience in adapting their behavior to meet the social demands and expectations of the school, workplace, and amateur and residential settings .

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