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Landau-Kleffner Syndrome: The Misdiagnosed Neurological Disorder

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A rare neurological disorder, Landau-Kleffner Syndrome (LKS), goes by many names: acquired epileptic aphasia, infantile acquired aphasia and aphasia with convulsive disorder. The disorder is “characterized by the sudden or gradual development of aphasia (the inability to understand or express language) and an abnormal electroencephalogram (EEG),” according to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS).

With LKS, the child has normal language development up until the onset of the disorder, which is between the ages of three and seven. The Iris Cantor Women's Health Center states that signs of auditory agnosia include problems with language comprehension and hearing, and the patient has problems expressing herself through language. The patient may even appear to be developmentally delayed. As a result, the NINDS states that LKS can be difficult to identify, and the patient “may be misdiagnosed [with] autism, pervasive developmental disorder, hearing impairment, learning disability, auditory/verbal processing disorder, attention deficit disorder, mental retardation, childhood schizophrenia, or emotional/behavioral problems."

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EmpowHER Guest

Landau Kleffner syndrome has been thought to be very rare but, with improved diagnostic techniques, the known prevalence may increase significantly.

March 18, 2011 - 12:07am
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