Life SkillsThe second defining feature of intellectual disabilities (ID, formerly mental retardation) is the limited development of life skills.
- These important skills enable us to live in a safe and socially responsible manner.
- They are collectively referred to as adaptive functioning.
Adaptive functioning is affected by three basic skill sets:
Problems in adaptive functioning are identified by using standardized tests.
- These tests compare an individual's score with the average score for the general population.
- Problems are indicated when a person's score is below the score of 97.5% of the population. However, some people may score above these levels and still meet the criteria for an intellectual disability.
- There is now a greater emphasis on adaptive functioning.
- These changes affect eligibility for social security disability benefits.
The assessment of adaptive functioning is very important. This is because it identifies the supports needed to help someone optimize their functioning. Supportive rehabilitation is included at the end of this article.