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      Landau-Kleffner Syndrome

      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, and 1990.

      What are the signs of Landau-Kleffner syndrome?


      The following are the most common indicators of Landau-Kleffner syndrome. However, each individual 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 developmentally delayed.

      • 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.

      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 as:

      • hyperactivity

      • aggressiveness

      • depression

      The symptoms of Landau-Kleffner syndrome may resemble other conditions or medical problems, such as deafness or learning disabilities. Always consult your physician for a diagnosis.


      How is Landau-Kleffner syndrome diagnosed?


      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 syndrome:


      Specific treatment for Landau-Kleffner syndrome will be determined by your physician based on:

      • your age, overall health, and medical history

      • 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.