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.  

  • 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. 

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) 


Understanding Epilepsy Syndromes
Epilepsy Action Australia

Contact us today

Give us a call on 1800 275 753 to discuss your support needs with our Allied Health team, or send an online enquiry and we'll be in touch.

Call CPL

How can CPL help?

Children just diagnosed with Landau Kleffner syndrome

Early Intervention Therapy

Landau Kleffner syndrome is usually recognized in children between 3 and 8, but can present in children as young as 18 months of age. Our early intervention services can help support you and your family learn how to best support your child and develop strategies for reaching their goals.


The NDIS Early Childhood Early Intervention (ECEI) approach supports children aged 0-6 years who have a developmental delay or disability and their families/carers. CPL's Support Coordinators can help you to navigate your first NDIS plan.

Adults with Landau Kleffner syndrome

Allied Health

Our Allied Health team offers Speech Therapy, Occupational Therapy and Physiotherapy to support a diverse range of communication and mobility needs.

Support at home 

CPL can support you with day-to-day tasks, depending on your needs, from getting ready for school, university or work, right through to mealtime assistance and medication.

Independent living

CPL provides 24/7 Supported Independent Living services, and has a number of vacancies in accessible homes.