How does an autistic child change as they grow?

    Published: 06-16-2009
    Views: 15,025
    Autism expert Peggy Halliday discusses how an autistic child can change as they grow.

    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: How does an autistic child change as they grow?

    Peggy Halliday: At student s age their ability is very greatly. We know if that the students who have intensive early interventions with behavioral interventions have the best outcomes when they are adults and so, this is what we really want to look for but that still vary, depending on a their own deficits and their skill sets. So, another thing that we know is that the life time cost of care for a child with autism, once they go through their life span is about $2.

    5 million and that cost is growing all of the time. The more we can do to make a person with autism independent as an adult, the better the savings is going to be in terms of the expense to society but also, just in quality of life for that individual.

    So, in terms of what to expect, we know that the expectations for children with an autism as an adult are extremely varied. some of them will grow up to be practically indistinguishable from their peers and be able to get along without any support. Others are going to need limited support and others are going to need for care, down the road. It extremely varied but we do know that the more help we give these children doing the preschool years the more independent they are going to be later in life.