But Dorn's parents believe otherwise. They say Dan Dorn's experts are looking at old records, and that after years of rehabilitation, it is clear she has brain function, can understand when people talk to her and can read short passages.
Having devoted the past five years to her rehabilitation, Susan and Paul Cohen believe their daughter communicates through her eyes.
They say when Dorn has one long blink it means "yes." When she is in pain, she cries out. When she is happy, they say, she can smile. Her eyes follow movements in the room. Her caretakers say several times a day she will say "yeah" or "no" in response to direct questions.
ABC News spent a day with Dorn and watched her undergo therapy. When asked if seeing her children was important to her, Dorn replied with a long blink.
"A mother needs to see her children, she gave them life," Paul Cohen said. "Her blood is in their veins. These children need to know they have a mommy and she needs to know her children are growing."
The family's lawyer agrees, arguing that Dorn has rights that have been ignored.
"Abbie has a right, a constitutional, legal right to have her parents, her own representatives, to request visitation on her behalf," Lisa Helfend, an attorney for Dorn and her parents, said.
ABC News' requests for an interview with Dan Dorn were declined.
In a statement, Dan's attorney, Vicki Green, said, "while the grandparents criticize the father, they denied him any footage or medical update of Abbie's condition before opening their home to 'Good Morning America.' This case is sad and tragic. However, it is also legally complex, and there is no reason to try this case by public opinion."
Dan Dorn's medical experts argue that Abbie Dorn is "in a vegetative state with virtually no hope for recovery."
The Cohens believe Dan Dorn is "fearful for his children" but "lacks knowledge" of the situation.
Dorn's mother believes her daughter is still "there," saying Dorn cries, smirks and even smiles.
"I know that Abbie is there ... it's well beyond a mother's love," Susan Cohen said.
After Dorn's injury, her mother had a painting commissioned for their daughter. It hangs in her bedroom.
It shows Dorn walking the dunes of South Carolina, with her three laughing children.
It is the picture-perfect life her parents believe Dorn should have had, and that they refuse to give up on providing for her. It is the image that drives their care for her, and, they say, motivates the lawsuit they have filed to give her the right to visit with her children.
"If all she can say to them is one or two words and show in her eyes how much she loves them, I think that will mean a great deal to those children," Susan Cohen said.