A new study conducted by The Kennedy Krieger Institute Center for Autism and Related Disorders has revealed that severe language delays in children with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) gained significant language advancement by the time they are eight years old. According to this study, which has been the largest sample to date, a remarkable 70 percent of children who at age four show abnormalities in communication, achieved phrase or fluent speech as they matured.
The data for this study was collected by the Simon Simplex Collection (SSC). This project gathers data on children with ASD aged four to eighteen with families who are unaffected by ASD. The SSC studied a sample of 535 children, eight years or older. At the time of their entry into the study, researchers selected children with ASD who had little or no speech at age four. The results of the study concluded that 119 children mastered phrase speech, 253 children were fluently speaking by age eight. 163 children never gained fluency in speech or phrase.
The results of this study give parents and families of children with autism hope that with appropriate therapy children with ASD can make significant strides in their speech and language development.