Muteness facts for kids
Muteness or mutism is defined as not being able to speak while maintaining the ability to hear the speech of others.
Mutism is typically understood as an inability to speak on the part of a child or an adult due to an observed lack of speech from the point of view of others who know them. Such observers commonly include a mute person's family members, caregivers, teachers, and health professionals like doctors or speech and language pathologists.
Muteness may not be a permanent condition, depending upon the cause.
For children, a lack of speech may be developmental, neurological, psychological, or due to a physical disability or a communication disorder.
For adults who previously had speech and then became unable to speak, loss of speech may be due to injury, disease, termed aphasia, or surgery affecting areas of the brain needed for speech. Loss of speech in adults may occur rarely for psychological reasons.
Treatment or management of muteness depends on what has caused the absence of speech. When there is an absence of speech, a speech assessment is strongly recommended to determine cause and treatment. Treatment of absence of speech is possible in a variety of cases.
If the absence of speech is determined to be a permanent condition, a range of assistive and augmentative communication devices are available to aid communication.