ADHD and Autism

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 Behavior Commonly Noted

  • Has trouble mingling with other children.
  • Seems unafraid or unaware of dangerous situations.
  • Temper tantrums or extreme reactions for seemingly no reason.
  • Seems to make little, if any, eye contact.
  • Either active or inactive to a higher than normal degree.
  • Out of control or impulsive when working on schoolwork, messy work.
  • Laughing when there is no apparent reason.

ADHD Behavior Commonly Noted

  • Disruptive talking or behavior when with other children.
  • Trouble being patient and taking turns.
  • Unaware or unafraid of danger they put themselves in.
  • Seems unable to think things through.
  • Tantrums can be extreme for little or no apparent cause.
  • Difficulty sitting still, fidgeting and moving at all times.
  • Inattentive, even when being spoken to face to face.
  • Pays no attention to, or can't grasp, small details,
  • Has incomplete or sloppy work.

ADHD and Autism Compared

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.

› ADHD and Autism

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