A mother describes the years of frustration when her son’s diagnosis of ADHD delayed the detection of autism.
Yet, there are many symptoms that overlap and occur in both
disorders. They include poor social skills, sensory dysfunction, and the
inability to stay focused.
This can make accurate diagnosis more difficult. The
difference is seen in the way these symptoms present and their severity, which
can signal which condition is relevant.
The recently updated Diagnostic
and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders V permits both ADHD and autism
diagnoses in one individual, allowing a growing number of individuals to be
diagnosed with both ADHD and autism spectrum disorder.
However, it isn’t always that simple. Since so many symptoms
overlap, a clinician can attribute symptoms to the existing ADHD diagnosis, not
seeing the signs of possibly coexisting autism.
study published in the journal Pediatrics found that children who are
diagnosed with ADHD first are more likely to get their autism diagnosis at a
later age than those with no ADHD diagnosis.
The autism diagnosis comes three
years later, on average, for kids with an existing diagnosis of ADHD.
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