The setting is current, the place is Wisconsin. The protagonist is a man in his 20's. He was born and raised in Wisconsin to Americans, so English is his native tongue. He's of normal to high intelligence, and other than being mute, is in perfect health.
Most of the Google searches seem to come up with a few main topics:
* deaf-mute, which isn't accurate as he isn't deaf.
* selective mutism, which isn't accurate as he doesn't have an anxiety disorder. Nor is he particularly shy, nor does he have any sort of somatoform disorder what would strike him mute ('hysterical mutism').
* Autism. He's not autistic.
* Aphasia. I'm willing to consider this, but he doesn't have any problems reading, decoding, or processing language - just saying it.
I would imagine that, if he's truly mute, he wouldn't be able to utter any sounds, which is OK. So far, I have him communicating with a combination of ASL, written notes, and his trusty Sidekick phone; obviously this can change depending on what's out there. (I haven't done a lot of research into devices that nonverbal people use yet).
The only things I can come up with are either brain/head injury, or nerve injury affecting the vocal cords. Or a tracheostomy. So, what else is out there? Many thanks in advance!