The long term prognosis for ALS is two to five years since diagnosis. Steve has been living with ALS for six years from the time of diagnosis and has exceded expectations of patients with ALS. Once ALS starts it almost always progresses eventually taking away the ability to walk, dress, write, speak, swallow, and breathe and shortening the life span. How fast this occurs depends from person to person. While the average survival time is 3 years, about twenty percent of people with ALS live five years, 10 percent will survive ten years and five percent will live 20 years or more.Today, Gleason relies on a ventilator to stay alive and a computer to speak.