Do children with autism play differently?

    Published: 06-16-2009
    Views: 16,107
    Autism expert Peggy Halliday discusses if children with autism play differently.

    Peggy Halliday

    Peggy Halliday is a board certified associate behavior analyst who has specialized in autism education for the past ten years. She is the Director of Outreach Services at the Virginia Institute of Autism (VIA) in Charlottesville, VA. VIA is a non-profit organization which provides a day school and other resources for families, educators, and other professionals seeking services, training or information about autism and evidence-based interventions. The Institute operates a year-round school for students ages 2-22, a 700-volume library, training workshops, internships for undergraduate and graduate students and teachers, and customized trainings for schools. Peggy supervises a wide range of outreach services, including development and supervision of comprehensive, home-based early intervention programs incorporating naturalistic, incidental, and structured teaching using the principles of applied behavior analysis; training for parents and home instructors; skills assessments, functional behavior assessments and intervention plans, and consultation on Individual Education Plan goals. She has presented trainings and workshops at state and national conferences.

    Host: Do children with autism play differently? Peggy Halliday: Yes they do and that's one of the signs that clues us in that there maybe a difficulty here or a problem. Children with autism tend to play with toys in ways that they were not designed to be played with. For example instead of rolling a car back and forth a child with autism might pick it up and turn it over and just spin the wheels or they may take blocks and instead of stacking them or making things out of them, they may just line them up in a long row. They may take a string and just flick it and be very interested. They may be more interested in looking at their hands than in actual toys. There is a real lack over imaginative play and in pretend play as well in children with autism.