Understanding Landau Kleffner syndrome

Landau Kleffner syndrome is a rare form of childhood epilepsy which results in a severe language disorder. The cause of the condition is unknown. All children with Landau Kleffner syndrome have abnormal electrical activity in one or sometimes both temporal lobes, the area of the brain responsible among other functions for processing language.  

Facts about Landau Kleffner syndrome 

  • Landau Kleffner syndrome usually starts between the ages of three and eight. It may develop slowly over many months or very suddenly. 

  • Approximately 50 per cent of children with Landau Kleffner syndrome have a behavioural disorder. 

  • There have been approximately 200 cases reported since the condition was identified in 1957. Due to the nature of the syndrome, there may be more cases that are undiagnosed.  

  • Landau Kleffner syndrome is twice as common in males as in females. 

What are the symptoms of Landau Kleffner syndrome?

A major feature is the loss of ability to understand and use spoken language. When it develops in young children who have not yet learnt to talk it may be mistaken for a developmental language disorder, deafness or autism. Some language problems may include:  

  • Unintelligible speech, or voice quality that sounds similar to a person with a hearing impairment 

  • Deleting final consonant sounds and interchanging letters 

  • Using only single words, jargon or total mutism 

  • Language problems such as dysnomia (difficulty in remembering names for items or recalling words), semantic paraphasia (using a different word with a similar meaning eg. saying cut for scissors) or reverse compounds (saying lightstop for stoplight) 

How can CPL help?

No matter where you are on your journey, we are ready to help you achieve your goals. Our services aim to support people to reach their full potential through:  

For more information about how we can support you with Landau Kleffner syndrome, visit our services page, call us on 1800 275 753 or send an online enquiry

Understanding Epilepsy Syndromes