Home Disorders Child Psychiatry Landau-Kleffner syndrome

Acquired aphasia with epilepsy (Landau-Kleffner syndrome)


In this disorder, a child whose language has so far developed normally loses both receptive and expressive language but retains general intelligence. There are associated EEG abnormalities, nearly always bilateral and temporal, and often with more widespread disturbances. Most of the affected children develop seizures either before or after the change in expressive language. The disorder starts usually between 3 and 9 years of age. In most cases the loss of language occurs over several months but it may be more .rapid. In the early stages the severity of the impairment may fluctuate.

Causes of Landau-Kleffner syndrome

The cause is unknown but an inflammatory encephalitis has been proposed. The prognosis is variable: about two-thirds are left with a receptive language deficit, but the other third recover completely.

Assessment of Landau-Kleffner syndrome

Early investigation is essential both to determine the nature and severity of the speech and language disorder and to exclude mental retardation, deafness, cerebral palsy, and pervasive developmental disorder. The speech-producing organs should be examined. It is particularly important to detect deafness at an early stage. Parents can give some indication of the child's speech and language skills, especially if they complete a standardized inventory. With younger children it may be necessary to rely on this information, but children from about the age of 3 years can be tested by a standard test of language appropriate to the child's age. If possible, such a test should be carried out by a speech therapist or a psychologist specializing in the subject.

Facts and Tips about Landau Kleffner syndrome

  • Landau-Kleffner syndrome (LKS) is a rare childhood disorder related to slow or sudden loss in understanding or expressing language which may or may not followed by seizure.
  • EEG of child shows irregular electrical brain waves and LKS affect part of brain.
  • Abnormal EEG, inability in speaking, seizures, comprehension difficulties, and behavioral alteration are signs of LKS.
  • LKS is mistaken as autism, pervasive developmental disorder, a hearing destruction, learning disabilities, childhood schizophrenia, attention deficit disorder, emotional/behavioral problems or mental retardation so diagnosis is difficult.
  • Some children show full recovery after some years while some have LKS for life long. If LKS is lately affected then there is a grater chance of complete recovery.
  • Medications, speech therapy, sign language or multiple subpial transection are helpful to cure Landau-Kleffner syndrome.

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