Nov. 7, 2008 -- Question: How many children with autism will never be able to communicate using verbal language?
Answer: We are sometimes asked with a child who is not speaking, "Will he ever be able to speak?"
That is a very difficult question to answer and the treatments now are better than they were in the past. So we can't rely on statistics from the past to be a guide to this. Most of the children I see do learn to speak, but I see a selective group of patients.
There are other ways to speak besides using your mouth. You can use sign language. You can use gestures.
You can use augmentative communication devices, which are small computers that have words programmed into them and you access them by pushing buttons.
These are all ways to communicate, but I expect that most children diagnosed with autism nowadays will be speaking as they get older.