Why do pediatricians sometimes delay diagnosis of autism?

    Published: 06-16-2009
    Views: 13,233
    Autism expert Peggy Halliday discusses why pediatricians sometimes delay diagnosis of autism in children.

    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: Why do pediatricians sometimes delay diagnosis of autism?

    Peggy Halliday: I think there are number of reasons that, that happens, pediatricians in some cases do not see a lot of children with autism, so they may not really be sure of what all the signs and symptoms of autism are. Also they see a number of children that have slight delays which turn out to be nothing. That children grow out of the delays and I think pediatricians are reluctant to give an autism diagnosis especially with something that is so -- can be so devastating as the diagnosis of autism if they might be wrong. So, there is that tendency to delay the autism diagnosis, there also is such variability in the ages that children develop that, they may really be unclear about whether the child just simply going to grow out of the delay and move along and develop as he should.