Adaptive functioning refers to the ability to manage the demands of day-to-day life. It can include areas such as self-care, travel, shopping, cooking, fine motor skills and communication. It is understood that autistic people may learn some of these skills at a slower rate than their non-autistic peers. An AIMS-2-TRIALS study recently explored which factors contribute to this delay. This research demonstrated for the first time that reduced adaptive functioning is linked to the core social communication difficulties that define autism, rather than typical sensory symptoms, repetitive behaviours or any associated psychiatric symptoms. 

Tillmann, J., San José Cáceres, A., Chatham, C., Crawley, D., Holt, R., Oakley, B., Banaschewski, T., Baron-Cohen, S., Bölte, S., Buitelaar, J., … and and the EU-AIMS LEAP group. (2019). Investigating the factors underlying adaptive functioning in autism in the EU‐AIMS Longitudinal European Autism Project. Autism Research12(4), 645-657. Published 11th February, 2019.