Landau-Kleffner Syndrome | Diagnosis and Treatment

How is Landau-Kleffner syndrome diagnosed?

Landau-Kleffner syndrome (LKS) can be difficult to diagnose because it can resemble other conditions, such as autism or pervasive developmental disorder. 

If you or your doctor suspects LKS, see a neurologist. A neurologist can make an initial diagnosis based on a complete examination and medical history. 

What tests will my child need?

Your child’s clinician may order one or more of the following tests to help diagnose LKS:

  • Electroencephalogram (EEG): Children with LKS may show spikes on EEGs, especially during sleep, so sleep recordings are very important.
  • Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI): An MRI of the brain can help rule out a structural cause of the problem, such as a brain tumor. 
  • Speech and language testing: These tests may help rule out hearing loss.


Who will be on my child’s care team?

Your child's care team will most likely include a neurologist, a neuropsychologist, and a speech pathologist or audiologist. Some children with behavioral problems may also need to see a child psychologist and a psychopharmacologist.

What are the treatment options for Landau-Kleffner syndrome?

Treatment for LKS will depend on your child’s symptoms, but they may include:

  • medications to help treat seizures
  • speech therapy 
  • behavioral therapy 
  • sign language training
  • multiple subpial transection (MST) surgery has been used in selected cases although of unproven benefit

Expert care for Landau-Kleffner syndrome

The Boston Children’s Hospital Department of Neurology are experts at diagnosing and treating children with all types of neurologic and developmental disorders. Our Augmentative Communication Program is known internationally for its work with children and adults who are non-speaking or whose speech is severely impaired.

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