ADHD And Autism


Overview

Key points

  1. ADHD and autism can coexist. That means you can be diagnosed with both conditions.
  2. The two conditions may be caused by a rare gene. That means that there could be a genetic connection between ADHD and autism.
  3. Treatment for ADHD symptoms may also help treat symptoms of autism.

When a school-age child can’t focus on a task, parents may think their child has attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Difficulty concentrating on homework? Fidgeting and difficulty sitting still? An inability to make or maintain eye contact? All are symptoms of ADHD.

These symptoms do match what most people understand about the common childhood behavior disorder. Even many doctors might gravitate toward that diagnosis. Yet, ADHD might not be the only answer.

Before an ADHD diagnosis it’s worth understanding how ADHD and autism, a neurodevelopmental disorder, can be confused.

ADHD VS. AUTISM

ADHD versus autism

ADHD is a common childhood behavioral disorder. Approximately 11 percent of American children between the ages of 4 and 17 are diagnosed with ADHD.

There are three types of ADHD:

  • mostly hyperactive-impulsive
  • mostly inattentive
  • combined hyperactive-impulsive and inattentive

The average onset age is 7 years old. Boys are more likely to be diagnosed with ADHD than girls.

Another childhood condition, autism spectrum disorder (ASD), also affects an increasing number of children.

ASD is a group of complex neurological disorders. These disorders affect behavior, development, and communication. One in 68 American children has been diagnosed with ASD. Boys are four-and-a-half times more likely to be diagnosed with autism than girls.

SYMPTOMS

Symptoms of ADHD and autism

ADHA and ASD share many common symptoms. That’s why it’s not unusual for one condition to be mistaken for the other in the earliest stages.

ADHD symptoms Autism symptoms
being easily distracted
frequently jumping from one task to another or quickly growing bored with tasks
unresponsive to common stimuli
difficulty focusing, or concentrating and narrowing attention to one task
intense focus and concentration on a singular item
talking nonstop or blurting things out
hyperactivity
trouble sitting still
interrupting conversations or activities
lack of concern or inability to react to other people’s emotions or feelings
repetitive movement, such as rocking or twisting
avoiding eye contact
withdrawn behaviors
impaired social interaction
delayed developmental milestones

ADHD WITH AUTISM

When they occur together

There may be a reason why symptoms of ADHD and ASD can be difficult to distinguish from one another. Both can occur at the same time. A doctor may decide only one of the disorders is responsible for your child’s symptoms. Not every child can be clearly diagnosed. In those cases, children may have both conditions.

One study in Pediatrics found that 18 percent of children with ADHD exhibited behavior traits of ASD. Those children also had more debilitating symptoms than children who did not exhibit ASD traits. In other words, children with ADHD and ASD symptoms were more likely to have learning difficulties and impaired social skills than children who only have one of the conditions.

RESEARCH

Understanding the combination

For many years, doctors were hesitant to diagnose a child with both ADHD and ASD. For that reason, very few medical studies have looked at the impact of the combination of conditions on children and adults.

The American Psychiatric Association (APA) stated for years that the two conditions couldn’t be diagnosed in the same person. In 2013, the APA changed its stance. With the release of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition (DSM-5), the APA states that the two conditions can co-occur.

In a 2014 review of studies looking at the comorbidity of ADHD and ASD, researchers found that between 30 to 50 percent of people with ADHD also have symptoms of ASD. Researchers don’t fully understand the cause for either condition, or why they occur together so frequently.

Both conditions may be linked to genetics. One study identified a rare gene that may be linked to both conditions. This finding could explain why these conditions often occur in the same person.

More research is still needed to better understand the connection between ADHD and ASD.

TREATMENT

Getting the proper treatment

The first step in helping your child get the proper treatment is getting a correct diagnosis. You may need to seek out a child behavior disorder specialist. A lot of pediatricians and general practitioners don’t have the specialized training to understand the combination of symptoms. Pediatricians and general practitioners may also miss another underlying condition that complicates treatment plans.

Managing the symptoms of ADHD can help your child manage the symptoms of ASD, too. The behavioral techniques your child will learn may help lessen the symptoms of ASD. That’s why finding the proper diagnosis and getting adequate treatment is so vital.

Behavior therapy is a possible treatment for ADHD, and recommended as the first line of treatment for children under the age of 6. For children over the age of 6, behavior therapy is recommended besides medication.

Some medications commonly used to treat ADHD include:

Learn more: Vyvanse vs. Adderall for ADHD symptom control »

Behavioral therapy is also often used as a treatment for ASD. Medication may also be prescribed to treat symptoms. In people who have been diagnosed with both ASD and ADHD, medication prescribed for symptoms of ADHD may also help some symptoms of ASD. Your child’s doctor may need to try several treatments before finding one that manages symptoms, or there may be multiple treatment methods used simultaneously.

Outlook

There’s no cure for ADHD or ASD, but with treatment many of the symptoms can be managed. Be patient and open to trying various treatments. You may also need to move to new treatments as your child gets older and symptoms evolve.

Scientists are continuing to research the connection between these two conditions. Research may reveal more information about the causes and more treatment options may become available.

Talk to your doctor about new treatments or clinical trials. If your child has been diagnosed with only ADHD or ASD and you think they may have both conditions, talk to your doctor. Discuss all your child’s symptoms and whether your doctor thinks the diagnosis should be adjusted. A correct diagnosis is essential to receiving effective treatment.

Article Resources
Advertisements

About eslkevin

I am a peace educator who has taken time to teach and work in countries such as the USA, Germany, Japan, Nicaragua, Mexico, the UAE, Kuwait, Oman over the past 4 decades.
This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

8 Responses to ADHD And Autism

  1. eslkevin says:

    Autism Spectrum Disorder, ASD – What are the warning signs? – sldc.net‎
    Adwww.sldc.net/what-is-autism‎
    Suspect your child may have autism? Learn what signs to look for.
    What is Autism?Educational ResourcesSpeech TherapyArticles for Parents
    Autism or ADHD? – spdfoundation.net‎
    Adwww.spdfoundation.net/‎
    Or is it something else? Find out! Information and resources
    Global Reach · Parent Empowerment · Intensive Therapy Model
    Highlights: Cutting Edge SPD Education, Parent Empowerment, Premiere Research Center…
    Autism Spectrum Disorders – myasdf.org‎
    Adwww.myasdf.org/autism‎
    Learn More About Spectrum Disorders And How We Can Help.
    Highlights: Financial Assistance, Autism-Specific Organizations…
    What is Autism Spectrum? – Free Video Series for Kids‎
    Adwww.geekclubbooks.com/autism-edu‎
    An autism educational video series, guides and activities for your students.
    Highlights: Webisode Series, Helps Children See Past Differences…
    Autism Resource GuideAwareness EducationYou Can Make a DifferenceAutism Story Apps
    Scholarly articles for autism spectrum and adhd
    Autism spectrum disorder, ADHD, epilepsy, and … – ‎Surén – Cited by 86
    The impact of ADHD and autism spectrum disorders on … – ‎Anckarsäter – Cited by 240
    The genetics of autism spectrum disorders and related … – ‎Lichtenstein – Cited by 438
    Search Results
    Image result for autism spectrum and adhd
    Some studies suggest that up to half of kids with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) also have ADHD. Your child has been diagnosed with ADHD. But those four letters alone don’t seem to explain all of her struggles. You sometimes wonder if she’s also on the autism spectrum.
    ADHD and Autism: Could Your Child Have Both Conditions? – ADDitude
    http://www.additudemag.com/adhd/article/10236.html
    Feedback
    About this result •
    People also ask
    What is the spectrum of autism?
    Is autism a form of mental illness?
    Is autism an anxiety disorder?
    How is an autism spectrum disorder diagnosed?
    Feedback
    Difference Between Autism and ADHD | Are ADHD and Autism Related?
    https://www.understood.org/…adhd/ive-heard-that-autism-and-adhd-are-related-is-that…
    Autism spectrum disorder and ADHD are related in several ways. They have some of the same symptoms. Having one of these conditions also increases the risk …
    ADHD and Autism: Could Your Child Have Both Conditions? – ADDitude
    http://www.additudemag.com › Attention Deficit › Related & Comorbid Conditions
    Some studies suggest that up to half of kids with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) also have ADHD. Your child has been diagnosed with ADHD. But those four letters alone don’t seem to explain all of her struggles. You sometimes wonder if she’s also on the autism spectrum.
    Asperger’s and ADHD: Understanding the Autism Spectrum – ADDitude
    http://www.additudemag.com › Attention Deficit › Related & Comorbid Conditions
    The symptoms of autism spectrum disorders and ADHD overlap. Most children on the autism spectrum have symptoms of ADHD — difficulty settling down, social awkwardness, the ability to focus only on things that interest them, and impulsivity.
    ADHD – NAS – The National Autistic Society
    http://www.autism.org.uk › About autism › What is autism? › Related conditions
    Jan 26, 2016 – ADHD is common in people with autism. If someone has ADHD, they have significant difficulties with things like poor attention, over-activity and …
    The Relationship Between ADHD and Autism – Healthline
    http://www.healthline.com/health/adhd/autism-and-adhd
    Jan 3, 2016 – Boys are more likely to be diagnosed with ADHD than girls. Another childhood condition, autism spectrum disorder (ASD), also affects an …
    ‎Overview · ‎ADHD vs. autism · ‎Symptoms · ‎ADHD with autism
    Asperger’s or ADHD? Symptoms, Diagnosis, and Treatments
    http://www.healthline.com/health/adhd/aspergers
    Apr 28, 2016 – Asperger’s and ADHD have similar symptoms, but a few symptoms set them … Disorders on the autism spectrum range from mild to severe, with …
    Differentiating Between ADHD Spectrum and Autism Spectrum …
    http://www.healthcentral.com/adhd/c/849319/137070/spectrum-disorder/
    Apr 21, 2011 – There is a great overlap of symptoms between ADHD and an autism spectrum disorder. How can a parent know which symptoms align with …
    ADHD, Anxiety and Autism? | Interactive Autism Network
    https://iancommunity.org/ssc/autism-plus-another-diagnosis
    by IAN Login
    Jan 23, 2014 – Are these behaviors just a part of autism spectrum disorder, or do these … as Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), anxiety disorder, …
    NIMH » Autism Spectrum Disorder
    https://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/topics/autism-spectrum-disorders-asd/
    Explore information about autism spectrum disorder (ASD), including signs and … such as schizophrenia or attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).
    ADHD symptoms can delay autism diagnosis for years | Science News …
    https://www.autismspeaks.org/…/adhd-symptoms-can-delay-autism-diagnosis-years
    Sep 14, 2015 – ADHD symptoms can delay autism diagnosis for years … Health on nearly 1,500 children, ages 2 to 17 years with autism spectrum disorder.
    Ads
    Get the Facts About ADHD – Learn the Signs & Treatments‎
    Adwww.bbrfoundation.org/adhd‎
    What is ADHD and how is it treated? Learn more about ADHD & the latest research.
    Support ResearchContact Us
    With autism spectrum – Caring for Patients & Families‎
    Adwww.spurwink.org/autism‎
    Services For Adults & Children With Autism. Nationally Accredited Non-Profit.
    Services: Outpatient & Community Services, Residential Services…
    Learn About SpurwinkYouth and Family ServicesTreatment Foster CareConnect With Us
    Learn Mindfulness Skills – The Psychology of Attention‎
    Adwww.todoinstitute.org/mindfulness‎
    Leading Author and Expert in Japanese Psychology Teaches Skillful Practice
    Self-development · Spirituality · Relationships · Psychology
    Highlights: 24/7 Access, Daily Reflection Exercises, Online Video, A

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s