Has autism become more prevalent in recent years?

    Published: 06-16-2009
    Views: 12,431
    Autism expert Peggy Halliday discusses the prevalance of autism in recent years.

    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: Has autism become more prominent in recent years?

    Peggy Halliday: That is a question that everyone is wondering about because the diagnostic criteria for autism has changed and broadened over the years, but when autism first became its own separate diagnostic category in 1980, the estimates were that autism affected about one in 2000 or 3000 people. So, certainly in terms of number of people diagnosed with autism it is much more prevalent today.