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:
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.