cowboyguy (cowboyguy) wrote in little_details,

Mutism - Using ASL to communicate

Hi, all. I just found this community recently and I'm hoping some of you can help me out. So here goes:

Setting: present day, possibly with a few supernatural elements to it (haven't really decided yet, but it's definitely set on Earth and around the present time)

One of my characters is mute, but I'm having trouble deciding exactly how it's going to work. He was kidnapped and physically/psychologically tortured for several years, so there's physical as well as emotional trauma. At first I was thinking the cause of his muteness would be some sort of brain damage or physical damage to the vocal cords, but after searching around (and looking up other threads in this comm), it seems like physical damage will have other side effects that I don't really want. So I've got a few questions.

1.) If someone has damage to Broca's area, that would hinder language production in any case, right? No matter whether it's spoken or signed?

2.) If I go for PTSD-induced mutism, which is what I was sort of leaning towards, would the character still be able to learn to sign to communicate, or would he have just as much anxiety about communicating through sign as using his voice?

One more note: The story starts with the character finding his way back home, to where he used to live with his best friend. He doesn't speak at all at first, due to just the shock of finally having escaped and gotten back home, and he's still pretty traumatized, but my idea was that after awhile, once he felt safer, he would start to want to be able to communicate again.

Thanks in advance for any help you can give me!
Tags: ~languages: sign languages, ~medicine: illnesses to order, ~medicine: injuries to order, ~psychology & psychiatry (misc)

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