About infantile acquired aphasia

What is infantile acquired aphasia?

Landau Kleffner syndrome (LKS) is a childhood disorder characterized by the loss of comprehension and expression of verbal language (aphasia) in association with severely abnormal electroencephalic (EEG) findings that often result in seizures.

What are the symptoms for infantile acquired aphasia?

A person with aphasia may:

  • Speak in Short or incomplete sentences
  • Speak in sentences that don't make sense
  • Substitute one word for another or one sound for another
  • Speak unrecognizable words
  • Have difficulty finding words
  • Not understand other people's conversation
  • Not understand what they read
  • Write sentences that don't make sense

Patterns of aphasia

People with aphasia may have different strengths and weaknesses in their speech patterns. Sometimes these patterns are labeled as different types of aphasia, including:

  • Broca's aphasia
  • Wernicke aphasia
  • Transcortical aphasia
  • Conduction aphasia
  • Mixed aphasia
  • Global aphasia

These patterns describe how well the person can understand what others say. They also describe how easy it is for the person to speak or to correctly repeat what someone else says.

Aphasia may develop slowly over time. When that happens, the aphasia may be labeled with one of these names:

  • Logopenic aphasia
  • Semantic aphasia
  • Agrammatism

Many people with aphasia have patterns of speech difficulty that don't match these types. It may help to consider that each person with aphasia has unique symptoms, strengths and weaknesses rather than trying to label a particular type of aphasia.

What are the causes for infantile acquired aphasia?

The most common cause of aphasia is brain damage resulting from a stroke — the blockage or rupture of a blood vessel in the brain. Loss of blood to the brain leads to brain cell death or damage in areas that control language.

Brain damage caused by a severe head injury, a tumor, an infection or a degenerative process also can cause aphasia. In these cases, the aphasia usually occurs with other types of cognitive problems, such as memory problems or confusion.

Primary progressive aphasia is the term used for language difficulty that develops gradually. This is due to the gradual degeneration of brain cells located in the language networks. Sometimes this type of aphasia will progress to a more generalized dementia.

Sometimes temporary episodes of aphasia can occur. These can be due to migraines, seizures or a transient ischemic attack (TIA). A TIA occurs when blood flow is temporarily blocked to an area of the brain. People who've had a TIA are at an increased risk of having a stroke in the near future.

What are the treatments for infantile acquired aphasia?

If the brain damage is mild, it's possible to recover language skills without treatment. However, most people undergo speech and language therapy to rehabilitate their language skills and supplement their communication experiences. Researchers are investigating the use of medications, alone or in combination with speech therapy, to help people with aphasia.

Speech and language rehabilitation

Recovery of language skills is usually a slow process. Although most people make significant progress, few people regain full pre-injury communication levels.

Speech and language therapy aims to improve the ability to communicate. The therapy helps by restoring as much language as possible, teaching how to make up for lost language skills and finding other methods of communicating.


  • Starts early. Some studies have found that therapy is most effective when it begins soon after the brain injury.
  • Often works in groups. In a group setting, people with aphasia can try out their communication skills in a safe environment. Participants can practice starting conversations, speaking in turn, clearing up confusion and fixing conversations that have completely broken down.
  • May include use of computers. Using computer-assisted therapy can be especially helpful for relearning verbs and word sounds (phonemes).


Certain drugs are being studied for the treatment of aphasia. These include drugs that may improve blood flow to the brain, enhance the brain's recovery ability or help replace depleted chemicals in the brain (neurotransmitters). Several medications, such as memantine (Namenda), donepezil (Aricept, Adlarity), galantamine (Razadyne ER) and piracetam, have shown promise in small studies. But more research is needed before these treatments can be recommended.

Other treatments

Brain stimulation is being studied for aphasia treatment and may help improve the ability to name things. But no long-term research has been done yet. One treatment is called transcranial magnetic stimulation and another is transcranial direct current stimulation.

These treatments aim to stimulate damaged brain cells. Both are noninvasive. One uses magnetic fields and the other uses a low current through electrodes placed on the head.

What are the risk factors for infantile acquired aphasia?

  • Stroke
  • neurological disorders
  • medications

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