Assessment is critical in the education and treatment of those with ASD as well as in determining an individual's level of independence for community integration. There are two compelling reasons to assess adaptive behavior in individuals with autism. First is that adaptive behavior is a good indicator of an individual's level of functioning and independence. Second is that it allows a provider to ascertain directly how well an individual functions in various environments. Depending on the environment, symptom expression, strengths, and weaknesses within an individual may vary. It covers four basic methods of obtaining information related to adaptive functioning, each with its own unique advantages and disadvantages. A complete assessment of adaptive behavior can include all four types of assessments both within and across settings. The first method is through surveys and questionnaires. A second way of obtaining information from different sources and settings is through interview. Interviews can be conducted with any caregiver and provide the best way for determining an individual's current skills. Interviews can be structured or unstructured and may provide protocols for scoring and interpreting responses. Another method of obtaining information from multiple sources and settings is direct observation of the individual while in that setting. This approach provides the best source for observing the context of the adaptive behavior. Observations concern spontaneous behavior in day-to-day situations that can cover extended periods. A final and arguably less-used way of obtaining information about the individual's adaptive functioning is through self-report.
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