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Kanner’s Syndrome: Causes, Symptoms and Treatment

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Kanner’s syndrome is a complex brain abnormality that affects the way the brain uses or transmits information. It is a severe complex developmental disorder that may occur in early childhood.

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Many of the children affected are mentally challenged, and 50% show a marked delay in motor milestones. An affected child may seem alert and attentive even with the odd behavior

This disorder falls under the wide spectrum of autism. Kanner’s syndrome is a disorder that is also prevalent worldwide, cutting across all socio-economic, tribe, and race.

In the UK, one out of every 100 children has autism, with over five hundred thousand total diagnosed in the UK as of 2007. It occurs in 1 in every 1,000 children in China, while in India, 1 in every 250 children are affected. In Mexico, 2 to 6 in every one thousand children are autistic.

Autism is not definite to any one socio-economic, racial group or ethnic. Autism usually manifests in the 2nd or 3rd year of a child’s life, and it continues throughout his/her lifetime. The extent of impairment ranges from mild to severe.

Autism is treatable and can be managed with early diagnosis and treatment. Children who have Kanner’s syndrome can lead healthy, full lives.

Causes of Kanner’s syndrome

Studies have shown that abnormalities in several parts of the brain are believed to have occurred during fetal development. The problem is believed to have happened in the parts of the brain responsible for language and information processing.

Kranner’s syndrome is also believed to have a genetic basis. Family survey have shown that identical twins are more likely to be diagnosed with autism than twins who are fraternal (not genetically identical).

In a family with one Kanner’s syndrome child, the chance of having another child with Kanner’s syndrome is about 1 in 20 or approximately 5%, which is much higher than in the population in general.

Symptoms of Kranner’s syndrome

The seriousness of the condition differs between individuals, ranging from the most severe (extremely unusual, repetitive, self-injurious, self-harm, and aggressive behavior) to very mild.

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Not all children with Kranner’s syndrome manifest the same symptoms. Therefore, special treatments can be devised to suit each child.

Extreme issue with social interaction are the most common symptoms of Kanner’s syndrome and some of the most visible signs include;

  • Avoiding eye contact
  • Avoiding physical contacts such as hugs or cries and display of discomfort when picked up
  • Inability to play make-believe
  • Inability to point out interesting objects
  • Inability to respond to conversation directed at him/her
  • Practising excessively repetitive behaviors
  • Repetition of words or phrases
  • Losing skills and language after learning them

Social interaction starts from birth because we are social beings. Kids with Kranner’s syndrome have difficulty making and maintaining social connections.

Language problems

Children with Kranner’s syndrome experience difficulty with verbal communication and speech, and some kids do not speak at all. Others would only use one or two words at a time.

Even when some can develop vocabularies, they might lose it at some point. They still experience difficulty sustaining a natural, “back-and-forth” conversation with others.


There is no medical test for diagnosing Kranner’s syndrome. Prognosis is made after careful screening and observation by caregivers, parents, and physicians. It is more helpful when early detection of the complication is done.

Once parents feel there is a complication or their paediatrician has identified developmental problems during well-baby check-ups, they can seek out a developmental paediatrician for further diagnosis.

There are several screening tests used, and they include:

  • Childhood Autism Rating Scale (CARS): This is a test based on a 15 point scale where the physician observes specific behaviors
  • Checklist for Autism in Toddlers (CHAT): This is a test that is done to recognize autism in 18-month olds that uses questionnaires filled out by both the parents and the paediatrician
  • Autism Screening Questionnaire: This is a 40-item questionnaire for diagnosing children from 4 and older
  • Screening Test for Autism in Two-Year-Olds: This is a test that is done to directly observe three skill areas, including motor imitation, play and joint attention


Because the symptoms of autism can vary significantly from one person to the next, there is not a particular singular treatment that works for every person.

A spectrum of interventions, including behavioral & educational training, diet & nutrition, alternative medicine & therapies, should be used, fine-tuned to suit and treat an affected individual.

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The most strongly suggested treatment option is educational and behavioral training. Early discovery, intervention, and treatment is key to helping children with Kanner’s syndrome grow into productive and functional adults.


No single medication is known to treat Kanner’s syndrome. Nevertheless, some medicines have been used to meet the specific needs of children who suffer from Kanner’s syndrome.

Drugs that can control epilepsy, which affects up to 20% of people who have Kranner’s syndrome, can be used. Many people have adopted medication as an alternative treatment method for anxiety, depression, and hyperactivity.


Kranner’s syndrome is treatable and manageable but not curable. With appropriate treatments adjusted to suit the individual child as they grow up, its symptoms can improve.

Presently, caregivers and parents focuse on providing the best form of therapies possible for children with Kranner’s syndrome to develop and achieve their highest potential. Due to the rapid increase in the cases of Kranner’s syndrome, the CDC has voiced concern about its prevalence.

There has been more awareness raised for Kanner’s syndrome and more ongoing research efforts. People with Kranner’s syndrome have a healthy life expectancy, and with proper intervention, treatments, and help, they can lead full lives.


No known cause of Kranner’s syndrome has been discovered or confirmed, therefore. There’s still no known possible prevention.


Kanner's Syndrome
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Disclaimer: This article is purely informative & educational in nature and should not be construed as medical advice. Please use the content only in consultation with an appropriate certified medical or healthcare professional.

Oluwafemi Michael
Oluwafemi Michael is an online Mental Health Therapist, Advocate for Mental Health Awareness, a programmer, and also a content creator from Edo state, Akoko-Edo LG.
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