Similarities exist in the common symptoms of both ADHD and autism, and there are studies being conducted exploring a possible link between the two. The most notable similarity is that the motor skills are affected in both conditions.
When the signs and behaviors are examined side by side, enough similarities arise to make diagnosis difficult. Severity and varying degrees of each condition, both ADHD and autism, have different names, known as the autism spectrum disorder, such as Aspergers, which is a mild form of autism and often mistaken for ADHD in young children.
Autism has gone from a one in 2,000 chance to a one in 150 being diagnosed. It is possible that either the condition has been misdiagnosed in the past, or the cases are on the rise. Research into the root causes of autism and treatments for the symptoms of ADHD are being conducted, and while both are considered to be developmental disorders, the research is different for each.
One of the difficulties in diagnosing any of the autism spectrum can be that some symptoms do not manifest until the child is older, in their latter years of grade school. Often these cases may have been mistakenly diagnosed as ADD or ADHD. Often treatment given does not seem to help, as stimulants are the normal course of treatment for ADHD which has little to no effect on autism, and can in some cases aggravate the problem. Screening for ADHD and autism is mainly based on the reports of parents and teachers regarding the child's behavior, and with the similarities mistakes can and will be made.
Treatments for both ADHD and autism consist of medications and therapies to help the patient gain more control over their actions. Until the causes are found, these therapies are mainly used as a behavior modification method, since neither disordered has been cured through these medications. The medication is designed to allow the patient to concentrate and focus, and to be able to function as normally as possible.
Both disorders affect three main areas of a child's development; social, communication and behavioral, and can be very difficult to treat and cope with by caregivers.