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“Can My Child Ever Learn to Speak?” Authentic Communication and Autistic People

Photo © Kasia_Jot | Flickr / Creative Commons [image: Photo of a young blonde girl standing outside a wooden door painted with aqua paint. Her legs are crossed at the ankle. She is holding on to the door handle with one hand.] Ann Memmott annsautism.blogspot.com Often, in my consultancy and training work, we get questions such as, “Can my child ever learn to speak?” The answer to this is important, because, for a lot of parents of newly diagnosed autistic children, it’s easy to become misinformed or misled on this point. A number of organisations will be keen to tell such parents that without their ‘ACME Treatment X’ or ‘Potion Y with Added Secret Ingredient,’ their child will never speak, never learn to communicate. The parents may be told that most autistic children who do not use speech at (say) four years of age will never do so. “Early intervention to enforce…