Adaptive Behavior Diagnostic Scale (ABDS)

Nils A. Pearson, James R. Patton, Daniel W. Mruzek
SKU: 14510
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Test Level: C


Ages: 2 through 21 years
Testing Time: 30 minutes
Administration: Individual

The Adaptive Behavior Diagnostic Scale (ABDS) is an interview-based rating scale that assesses the adaptive behavior of individuals between the ages of 2 through 21 years. The primary function of the ABDS is to establish the presence and the magnitude of adaptive behavior deficits. The ABDS scores are compatible with state and federal special education classification systems and consistent with the DSM-V and American Association on Intellectual and Developmental Disorders (AAIDD) definitions of intellectual disability. The ABDS may be used to assess the adaptive behavior of individuals with or suspected of having intellectual disability, autism spectrum disorder, learning disabilities, mental or behavioral health condition or other similar concerns.

The test yields reliable and valid scores for three adaptive behavior domains (Conceptual, Social, Practical), composed of 50 items each. Specific skill areas measured in the three domains and the overall composite score are described below:

  • Conceptual Domain: Language, reading, writing, math, reasoning, knowledge, and memory.
  • Social Domain: Empathy, social judgment, gullibility, communication skills, the ability to make and retain friendships, and similar interpersonal capabilities.
  • Practical Domain: Self-management personal care, home living, community use, job responsibilities, money management, recreation, and organizing school and work tasks.
  • Adaptive Behavior Index: A combination of the three domain scores results in a composite score called the Adaptive Behavior Index. This composite is the most reliable score that is generated from administering the ABDS.

Norms for the ABDS are based on a nationally representative sample of 1,061 children and adolescents who reside in the U.S. The internal consistency reliability coefficients of the domain and composite scores were all above .90 for all age and disability groups. A study of the diagnostic accuracy, a highly rigorous validity technique, is reported with regards to sensitivity (.85), specificity (.99), classification accuracy (.98), and receiver operating characteristic/area under the curve (.99).

COMPLETE ABDS KIT INCLUDES: Examiner’s Manual, Rating Scale Reference Card, and 25 Examiner Record Booklets, all in a sturdy storage box. (© 2016)


  • 14510 - ABDS: Adaptive Behavior Diagnostic Scale Complete Kit
  • 14511 - ABDS Examiner's Manual
  • 14512 - Examiner Record Booklet (25) 
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