Landau-Kleffner Syndrome: Symptoms & Signs

Medically Reviewed on 10/21/2020

Landau-Kleffner syndrome is a rare childhood disorder characterized by the gradual or sudden loss of the ability to understand and use spoken language. It is most common in children 3-7 years of age who are developing otherwise normally.

Signs and symptoms include a loss of understanding of what is being said. This may be confused with a hearing problem, but hearing is typically normal. Some affected children may show developmental delays. The condition may progress to the complete loss of the ability to speak, known as mutism. Intelligence is usually normal.

Cause of Landau-Kleffner syndrome

The cause of the condition is unknown, but the loss of language skills sometimes follows a seizure. Family history does not seem to play a role in the development of the condition.

Other landau-kleffner syndrome symptoms and signs

  • Developmental Delays
  • Loss of Ability to Speak (Mutism)
  • Loss of Understanding of What Is Being Said


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Jameson, J. Larry, et al. Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine, 20th Ed. New York: McGraw-Hill Education, 2018.