Original Paper

Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders

, Volume 41, Issue 8, pp 1007-1018

First online:

The Role of Adaptive Behavior in Autism Spectrum Disorders: Implications for Functional Outcome

  • Stephen M. KanneAffiliated withDepartment of Health Psychology, University of Missouri–Columbia, Thompson Center for Autism and Neurodevelopmental Disorders Email author 
  • , Andrew J. GerberAffiliated withDivision of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, New York State Psychiatric Institute, Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons
  • , Linda M. QuirmbachAffiliated withUCLA Center for Autism Research and Treatment (CART)
  • , Sara S. SparrowAffiliated withYale Child Study Center, Yale University School of Medicine
  • , Domenic V. CicchettiAffiliated withYale Child Study Center, Yale University School of Medicine
  • , Celine A. SaulnierAffiliated withYale Child Study Center, Yale University School of Medicine

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The relationship between adaptive functioning and autism symptomatology was examined in 1,089 verbal youths with ASD examining results on Vineland-II, IQ, and measures of ASD severity. Strong positive relationships were found between Vineland subscales and IQ. Vineland Composite was negatively associated with age. IQ accounted a significant amount of the variance in overall adaptive skills (55%) beyond age and ASD severity. Individuals with ASD demonstrated significant adaptive deficits and negligible associations were found between the level of autism symptomatology and adaptive behavior. The results indicate that IQ is a strong predictor of adaptive behavior, the gap between IQ and adaptive impairments decreases in lower functioning individuals with ASD, and older individuals have a greater gap between IQ and adaptive skills.


Autism Autism spectrum disorder Adaptive functioning Vineland