Peggy HallidayPeggy 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: What are some examples of social skill deficits seen in autism?
Peggy Halliday: There is maybe a lack of eye contact or a real difficulty for children with autism to maintain eye contact there is also an inability to make friendships or to sustain friendship. There is a difficulty in understanding and reading social queues, another very important social deficit of autism is what we call joint attention or shared attention, children -- typically developing children are very interested in sharing something that is exciting that they see with another person or if another person points to something they immediately look at it and then look back at the person and share their interest in that. That is something missing in children with autism.