Landau-Kleffner syndrome is an acquired epileptic language disorder with an onset typically occurring between 3 and 8 years of age. The cause is not known but there may be genetic factors.
The first symptoms are often that the child suddenly or gradually loses the ability to speak or understand words. Other symptoms are electrophysiological disturbances in the brain that can result in epileptic seizures, generally during the night. The child may also find it difficult to interpret common sounds. Lack of attention and concentration difficulties are not unusual. Some affected children make a full or near-full recovery and epileptic seizures may completely disappear after adolescence. Some degree of problems with speech, language, communication, learning and behavioural may remain, however.
Children with Landau-Kleffner syndrome gradually or suddenly lose the ability to speak and understand words. There are no specific problems with the teeth or bite among affected children, but oral motor difficulties may occur which can sometimes result in eating difficulties and reduced saliva control.
Advice on follow-up and treatment
- Early contact with dental services for intensified prophylactic care and oral hygiene information is essential for children with Landau-Kleffner syndrome. Certain medications can cause dry mouth and increased risk of tooth decay
- Speech, language and communication training is often warranted.
- Training in oral motor skills and extra stimulation may be necessary.