When speaking of adaptive behavior, the social definition looks for and classifies a group of behaviors that permits an individual to successfully interact with others. At the same time, the ability to refrain from conflict is also identified. Although the history of trying to understand adaptive behavior is very old, the methods of dealing with the social problems associated with the concept have changed significantly over time, as shown by the publication of the Adaptive Behavior Assessment, third edition.
Early Use Pre and Early 1900s (Implementation of IQ Tests)
Formal assessment tests were unknown before 1904, so the criteria of whether individuals had a disability that kept them from fitting into the fabric of society rested on the family and neighbors initially. Whether a person had an intellectual disability or a mental health issue, the guiding measurement before that time was the ability to provide self-care and safely interact with others.
Measurements were implemented to assess an individual’s adaptive behavior when Alfred Binet and Theodore Simon introduced the intelligence quotient tests. The IQ test became the standard for assessing possible disabilities, both mental and physical.
The Overuse and Misuse of the IQ Test in the Court System
In the mid-1960s, the public began to question the rampant use of IQ tests to define social disabilities. Dr. Jane Mercer spearheaded a study that found many black children were tested and classified as having a disability known as mental retardation. The problem was that although the children tested with low IQ scores, their adaptive behavior in society allowed them to act the same as other children in their age group.
During this same time, there were also court cases about the use, misuse, and overuse of IQ tests in limiting and identifying individuals as mentally incompetent or in need of special education. One California judge was concerned enough with the school test results that focused on black student’s designation that he banned the use of the tests for measurement of special education needs.
Adaptive Behavior Vs. the IQ Test in Assessing Intellectual Disabilities
When using the test to measure disabilities, the focus was on the IQ test numbers, thus leaving little analysis of the individual’s ability to integrate into society successfully. There have been 12 definitions provided by the American Association on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities, and with each change, more focus is placed on Adaptive Behavior Assessment. IQ tests are still used to identify problems, but the numbers are no longer the main focus to measure disabilities.
With the addition of special education legislation looking at adaptive behavior assessment, the use of multiple tools to identify a specific area of special needs has become the norm. That means the IQ test is https://www.wpspublish.com/shop/assessment-area/adaptive-functionalno longer used as the single criteria in determining a child’s disability.
Learning to correctly assess the special needs and implement quality assistance for children with disabilities may have taken centuries, but thanks to the ABAS-3, society is learning from its mistakes. With each redefining, the role that adaptive behavior plays in social integration is more clearly understood. More importantly, the ability to teach children to integrate naturally is more successful.