What is autism and how prevalent is it?

    Published: 06-16-2009
    Views: 16,184
    Autism expert Peggy Halliday discusses what autism is and how prevalent it is.

    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: What is autism and how prevalent is it? Peggy Halliday: Autism is a developmental disorder that affects the functioning of the brain. autism spectrum disorders include artistic disorder, pervasive developmental disorder-not otherwise specified, also abbreviated as PDD-NOS and Asperger's disorder. All of these conditions of autism share common symptoms, but they vary in the severity and the way these symptoms are, of the exact nature of the autism symptoms in each child. Classic autism or autistic disorder is characterized by serious impairments in three areas, in social interaction, in communication and language and in restricted interest and behaviors. All of these characteristics begin before the age of three and last a life time. The CDC, the center for disease control, estimates that today autism affects one in 150 individuals.