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What Is The Difference Between Autism And Adhd

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Brain Scans Wont Distinguish Them

Autism vs ADHD (The Difference between ADHD and Autism Spectrum Disorder)

Huffington Post cites an expert that says brains of kids with ADHD and autism are much more similar than they are different, meaning a brain scan isnt going to magically reveal the exact developmental condition a patient is dealing with.

However, there has been some progress made as far as brain scans go, it says. The expert says one of the trademarks of ASD in brain imaging studies is that the brain is not efficiently connected, adding the connectivity of the brain in ASD and ADHD is quite similar.

Adhd Vs Autism: Attention Span

Children with ADHD often have trouble noticing the same thing for too long, and they can be easily disturbed.

Children with autism may have limited interest coverage. They seem to be obsessed with the things they love and the difficulty of focusing on things they are not interested in. They may be able to remember facts and details easily, and some may excel in mathematics, science, music, or art.

It may be easiest to find these signs when the child is doing his homework. A child with ADHD may not be able to notice any subject.

An autistic child may have a high level of focus on their favorite topic, but may not be able to engage in subjects that are less appealing to them.

Do Treatment Options Differ

This is important to remember. Those with either Aspergers or ASD do not need treatment for the differences in their behavior. In fact, simply being considered neurodivergent does not mean theres anything inherently wrong with you or your loved one.

The biggest thing you can do is accept you or your loved one for who they are, and then let them know that they are loved and supported for who they truly are.

Its also important to seek help if you need it, especially if youre now helping a child navigate the world on their own. Some facilities can carry out observations of your child to let you know what specific behaviors theyre exhibiting and then move forward with you from there.

No matter the reports, recommendations, or questions you may have or receive, your child has to come first in this process. Though some may argue that helping them learn to regulate their emotions in a way that fits their brain is a medical treatment, its not.

Youre helping your child recognize their strengths. Youre also teaching them how to overcome their weaknesses. How this looks is going to differ from child to child just like raising a neurotypical child or children would and there are specialists out there that can help. You can both learn to navigate life in a way that doesnt diminish you or your childs existence.

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Is It Adhdor Autism

ARCHIVED CONTENT: As a service to our readers, Harvard Health Publishing provides access to our library of archived content. Please note the date each article was posted or last reviewed. No content on this site, regardless of date, should ever be used as a substitute for direct medical advice from your doctor or other qualified clinician.

Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and autism can look a lot alike. Children with either one can be very active and impulsive, and can have trouble focusing and interacting with other people. In fact, it can be hard to tell the difference between the two.

But telling the difference is very important.

In a study just published in the journal Pediatrics, researchers looked at about 1,500 children between the ages of 2 and 17 who had a current diagnosis of autism . They found that those who got an ADHD diagnosis before they got an autism diagnosis were diagnosed with autism an average of 3 years later than those who got the autism diagnosis first and were 30 times more likely to get the autism diagnosis when they were 6 years old or older.

Autism isnt the only diagnosis that can look like ADHD. Children with learning disabilities, sleep disorders, hearing loss, and other problems are often misdiagnosed with ADHD.

For more information on autism and how to recognize it, check out the Act Early page on the website of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Difference Between Adhd And Autism

ADHD and Autism

Categorized under Health | Difference Between ADHD and Autism

ADHD Vs Autism

Basically, ADHD is when a person indulges in too much activity to the point that he can no longer focus his attention to a given object or task under normal circumstances. There is a recurrent feature of being impulsive, aside from the common inattention to other things. Impulsive and inattention are two of the most identifiable characteristics of ADHD.

Because these individuals are unable to focus on one task for a prolonged period of time, youll almost always notice them shifting tasks and frequently moving about. They really cant stay in a single place for a long time or else they will become anxious or get bored. Nevertheless, you need not worry that much because if ever your child has ADHD, theres still a big probability of him outgrowing the condition most especially when he reach the age of twenty and above.

Autism is when a person has poor or underdeveloped social skills. In this regard, the autistic person is not able to clearly interpret or distinguish body language. He is also unable to emphatize with other people. These characteristics are said to be attributed to the absence of mirror neurons in the central nervous system.

It is also interesting to note that many autistic kids are found to have high IQs. Although they have this much mental capacity, they actually have built a world of their own which is difficult to penetrate from the outside.

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Treatment Options For Asd

If the condition is diagnosed early enough, there may be early intervention services available aimed at improving the outcome, says Clinical child psychologists and social workers can help with social skills training, as well as provide CBT to help cope with emotional issues, it adds.

Occupational therapists are available to help kids better manage challenging situations, and can provide sensory integration therapy to help children respond to sensory information in a more appropriate way, it adds. Speech therapists can assist patients with communication skills, both with using language and understanding others. Certain medications can also be helpful.

Signs You Might Notice Depending On Your Child


  • It seems forgetful, easily disturbed or dreams
  • Apparently not listening and having trouble following the direction
  • Prone tantrum and meltdown due to frustration or lack of impulse control
  • Try hard with their organization and accomplish tasks
  • Have difficulties to stay on duty unless activity is very enjoyable
  • Fight with social skills
  • Struggling to sit still when quiet activities, such as meal times or when self-employment at school
  • Have trouble waiting in queues and be patient
  • Continuous On the go or moving restlessly and need to take and play everything
  • Interrupt people, disrupt everything incorrectly and may struggle with nonverbal cues
  • Act thoughtlessly and may not understand the consequences of its actions
  • It can react excessively to sensory inputs, such as the way the object sounds, smells, looks or feels
  • Play roughly and take physical risks.

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How Common Is Adhd

ADHD is the most common neurodevelopmental disorder, but how common is it? Youre most likely to be diagnosed with ADHD when youre a child, especially children that start school for the first time. According to the CDC, 8.8% of children in the United States between three to 17-years-old had been diagnosed with ADHD at some point in their lives as of 2019. The disorder is more commonly diagnosed in boys. Around 11.7% of boys and 5.7% of girls were diagnosed with ADHD.

ADHD was thought to only affect children and that adults would eventually outgrow it. However, ADHD can persist into adulthood, and its possible for it to go undiagnosed in children that eventually seek a diagnosis as adults.

Do I Have Autism Or Am I Just Shy

Whats The Difference Between ADHD & Autism

When it comes to the way a child communicates with others, there are a few subtle differences between shyness and autism. Generally, even though shy children typically avoid eye contact with strangers, they will look to their parent or caregiver for support. Also, a shy child may warm up eventually.

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Adhd Vs Autism: Misdiagnosis Comorbidity Similarities

Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder and autism spectrum disorder are both issues that begin in early childhood and affect the way a childs brain develops. Both can be difficult to diagnose, and they share some of the same characteristics. A closer look reveals that each of these neurodevelopmental conditions is distinct. But is there a link between the two? Is it possible to have both ADHD and autism at the same time? Learn more about these two disorders and their connection.

The Conditions Can Co

One scenario to consider is that your child is affected by both ASD and ADHD, as they can occur together, says Healthline. The source cites data from the CDC that says 14-percent of children with ADHD also are on the autism spectrum.

Having both conditions together means its more likely the child will have learning challenges and impaired social skills than those with only one of the conditions, it adds. It wasnt until 2013 that the American Psychiatric Association outlined that the conditions can co-exist, it explains.

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Is Comprehensive Best

There are psychological, psychoeducational, neuropsychological, and hybrid evaluations that study a childs functioning across a broad range of areas. These look at psychological functioning, thinking and intelligence, academic functioning , emotional functioning, attention, memory, and executive functioning. Your childs doctor should explain the different types of assessments available and recommend which ones they feel are most appropriate.

Comprehensive evaluations are always more accurate, but they can be costly and time intensive. They may also require travel if there isnt access to specialists where you live. It might be necessary for you to miss work or for your child to miss school. When making an appointment, be sure to ask, How are you going to determine whether my child is on the autism spectrum? What tools are you going to use? Ask about the costs. Check with your health insurance company to find out if any of the tests are covered. It is crucial to weigh the pros and cons and determine what is best for your family.

An accurate diagnosis requires input from you, based on your experiences with and observations of your childs behaviors and struggles. You should keep track of behaviors, struggles, and accomplishments. All of these provide clues on how to help your child best.

How Common Is Autism

The Difference Between a Tantrum and a Sensory Meltdown  ...

Autism affects children at an early age, and some parents notice the signs before a child reaches school age. However, children that enter school with an undiagnosed ASD may start to experience challenges that may be noticed by parents and teachers. The CDCs most recent data on the prevalence of autism comes from 2016 data from the Autism and Developmental Disabilities Monitoring Network that found 1 in 54 children has autism spectrum disorder . Like ADHD, autism is more common in boys than in girls, with the disorder affecting boys 11 times more frequently. There has been a steady increase in reported autism rates, but the cause is unknown and may have to do with diagnosing practices and awareness.

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What Is Autism Spectrum Disorder

The phrase autism spectrum disorder refers to a group of neurological developmental conditions. Communication and social interaction difficulties are common in this diagnosis. Repetitive, stereotyped interests or patterns and restriction of behaviour are common in people with ASD.

Regardless of colour, culture, or economic status, people with ASD may be found all over the globe. Autism spectrum disease affects one out of every 54 children, according to the Centre for Disease Control and Prevention.

Heres What You Need To Know

The biggest takeaway from this article: the signs that were once used to diagnose Aspergers now fall more firmly into a diagnosis of ASD. So, basically, Aspergers is no longer a functioning term. This doesnt mean the term isnt still used, thoughit just means that theres no formal diagnosis for Aspergers Syndrome.

Either way, a diagnosis doesnt mean you, your child, or any other loved one, has a disease that needs to be treated. The best thing you can do is learn about the nuances of ASD in order to develop a better understanding of you or your loved one.

The most important thing is to accept you or your loved one, whether its autism vs. Aspergers Syndrome.

If youre in need of a pediatric diagnosis or care, contact us today to get started.

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Whats The Difference Between Autism Spectrum Disorder And Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder

Frequently mistaken with each other are, ASD and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder . Fidgeting, focusing, and keeping eye contact with others are all difficulties that children with ADHD have. Some children on the autism spectrum have these symptoms as well.

Despite the similarity, ADHD is not a spectrum disorder. The absence of socio-communicative abilities in persons with ADHD is one of the key differences between the two.

If you suspect someone is hyperactive, talk to a doctor about having him or her tested for ADHD. To ensure that your kid receives the proper therapy, you must first obtain a precise diagnosis.

Its also normal for someone to have ASD and ADHD at the same time.

How Do We Determine The Underlying Cause

Attention Regulation: The Difference Between ADHD and Autism (Explaining The Neurodiversity Rainbow)

The purpose of the preceding steps is to look for clues and signs to determine: Is anxiety causing the issue? A symptom of ADHD? Or ASD? While you are gathering information, write down your observations, ask teachers for comments, and get your child to participate in this process actively. If they can articulate their feelings and experiences, ask questions such as:

  • When does the challenging behavior occur most often?
  • How frequently does it happen?
  • Is it part of a routine?
  • How long does it last?
  • What are possible contributing factors ?
  • What is the trigger that preceded the behavior?
  • What function is this behavior serving?

For example, your child might resist taking a bath because of trouble transitioning from playing video games or because of a sensory issue. They might find it hardest to concentrate in school right before lunch and at the end of the day because of hunger. They might feel left out during recess, or someone could be bullying them. Dig deep for the reasons behind the behaviors. Solutions tailored to specific situations work best.

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Can Someone Have Both Adhd And Autism

For many years, doctors held that one individual could not have both ADHD and autism, but in 2013 the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders allowed for the possibility of a dual diagnosis. The two conditions coincide frequently. According to the National Institutes of Health , about 30 to 80 percent of children with autism also meet the criteria for ADHD. About 20 to 50 percent of children diagnosed with ADHD similarly meet the criteria for autism.

It is possible to have both ADHD and autism. Finding a doctor that can give distinct diagnoses can help families and individuals seek the best treatments and therapies, something thats important to address at an early age for both conditions.

Rather than hoping entry to preschool or school will magically mitigate troubles, and rather than ascribing challenging or worrisome behaviors to autism alone or even to ADHD and autism together, we can support referral to appropriate psychological help, writes Lydia Furman, MD, Assistant Editor, for Pediatrics in a blog aimed at other pediatricians that discussed patients with both ADHD and autism.

Biggest Similarities And Differences Of Autism And Adhd

Autism and Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder affects millions of Americans in fact, recent numbers from the Autism Society indicate more than 3.5-million citizens in the country are on the autism spectrum, while the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says more than 6.1-million Americans aged 2 to 17 have been diagnosed with ADHD.

Both conditions can affect the patient into adulthood, and they share certain characteristics that can make them difficult to distinguish. However, there are also distinct differences. Lets take a look 14 markers that autism and ADHD have in common, including some other signs they dont share

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Similarities And Differences Between Adhd And Autism

Some people see a connection between ADHD and autism in their high rate of comorbidity. This simply means that many people with ADHD or autism tend to also have other disorder diagnoses as well.

Others, though, simply find a connection in the similar symptoms between ADHD and autism. Since both ADHD and autism occur as two of the most diagnosed mental disorders in children, its important to understand their similarities and differences. Lets look at each of those more in depth.

Similarities between ADHD and autism

Much of the connection between ADHD and autism lies in the social development aspect of the conditions. For instance, a study from 2016 found that children with autism had been misdiagnosed with ADHD due to a particular screening used to diagnosis ADHD. This study found that the screening failed in these cases because of the social limitations found in both conditions. The screening improperly interpreted the social impairments of autism for definitely being ADHD. Ultimately, the researchers recommended that the screening tool be adjusted to account for these similarities.

Additionally, as mentioned above, both ADHD and autism have a high rate of comorbidity with other physical and mental ailments. Furthermore, both ADHD and autism occur far more often in boys than they do in girls. These similarities may point to a common link in how the conditions occur.

Differences between ADHD and autism

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