What is Landau-Kleffner syndrome?
Landau-Kleffner syndrome (also called infantile acquired
aphasia, acquired epileptic aphasia, or aphasia
with convulsive disorder) is a language disorder. It frequently
occurs in normally-developing children, usually between three and seven
years of age, and is characterized by the gradual or sudden loss of the
ability use or comprehend spoken language.
It is a rare disorder, with approximately
160 cases diagnosed between 1957, when the syndrome was first identified,
What are the signs of Landau-Kleffner
The following are the most common indicators of Landau-Kleffner
syndrome, however, individuals may experience symptoms differently.
- Early signs may be referred to as auditory
agnosia, which includes the child:
- suddenly having problems understanding
what is said.
- appearing to have problems with
hearing -- deafness may be suspected.
- appearing to be autistic or
- Spoken language is eventually affected,
which may lead to complete loss of the ability to speak.
- Some children develop their own method
of communicating, such as with gestures or signs.
Language is the expression
of human communication. It allows a person to express, experience,
explain, and share:
It is a specific method,
style, or form of communicating for individuals or groups of
individuals. Most language is vocal, however, it may also be
- symbols, as in letters
When language is impaired,
problems can occur in all areas of a person's life, including:
- social development
- academic performance
- personal relationships
- employment opportunities
Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIDCD)
Approximately 80 percent of children with
Landau-Kleffner syndrome have a history of one or more epileptic seizures
that usually occur at night.
All children with Landau-Kleffner syndrome
have abnormal electrical brain wave activity on both sides of the brain.
Hearing and intelligence usually are
confirmed to be normal in children with Landau-Kleffner syndrome. However,
the disorder may be accompanied by behavior or psychological problems such
The symptoms of Landau-Kleffner syndrome may
resemble other conditions or medical problems, such as deafness or learning
disabilities. Consult a physician for diagnosis.
How is Landau-Kleffner
Landau-Kleffner syndrome is commonly diagnosed using an
electroencephalogram (EEG), a scan that shows the brain's electrical waves,
as well as other diagnostic tests.
Treatment for Landau-Kleffner
Specific treatment will be determined by your physician(s) based on:
- your age, overall health, and medical
- extent of the disease
- your tolerance for specific medications,
procedures, or therapies
- expectations for the course of the disease
- your opinion or preference
Treatment may include medication for
seizures, convulsions, and language ability. Sign-language instruction may
also be suggested.