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Autism & ADHD: A match made in heaven?

Van Gogh - Autism and ADHD50% of people with Autism also have ADHD.  They are both a disorder of self-regulation and executive functioning.  Social development is a stressor that interferes with both.  Care must be taken to address both.

Traveling on the WayBack Machine…

“Hello Doug.  My name is Miss Edie.”  Nothing.  “Hi.  What’s your name?”  Nothing.  “What’s your favorite subject in school?”  Nothing.  Wait!  I’ve got it!  “I have 2 dogs, Odie and Casper.  Do you like dogs?”  BINGO!  “My name is Doug.  I hate dogs.  I have 3 cats.  Want to pet them?”  YUK!  I hate cats.

Being an academic coach was a lot of fun, but I never know what I’m going to get.  Visually impairment, dyslexia, ADHD, Autism.  One of my parents finally told me that they don’t say anything because no one will come.  My heart breaks.

Back to Doug…

His behavior said Autism, but his parents just said that he was active.  Luckily they didn’t tell Doug not to say anything.  He told me that he has Asperger Syndrome.  I was a math teacher…no clue.

Once we made a bond, he started talking to me…a lot.  We did math with kitten videos in between.  We ran outside in the woods using walkie talkies.

I had to go back to graduate school.  We both cried.  Autism?

Autistic Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is a complex neurobiological disorder, which is 4 times more common in males.  Diagnosis falls within a range of classifications.  This includes Asperger Syndrome (High-functioning ASD).

ADHD is marked by inattention, hyperactivity, and impulsivity.  Similarly, Autism is characterized by reinforcing behaviors that channel excess energy.  Developmental skills for both are distinct conditions that happen to be found together.

Diagnosing people with both ADHD and Autism relies on skills demonstrated by getting a picture of them in the real world.  The focus is evaluating a global sense of living skills.  Processing should be fluid, done on an ongoing basis.

  • Social delays
  • Anxiety
  • Sensory integration problems
  • Can’t sit still (fidgets)
  • Communication difficulties

Testing is not enough.  Finding a psychiatrist who specializes in both ADHD and Autism is recommended.  This, thereby, can determine what interventions would be most helpful.

  • Provide organized checklists.
  • Investigate behavior therapies.
  • Post lists/rules.
  • Channel excess energy (swimming, karate).
  • Reinforce wanted behaviors.

People with Autism have difficulties with aspects of the social world.  ADHD has similar characteristics.  Seek experts if suspicions occur.

“Our kids” have many character traits which result in confusion.  Pay attention to developmental issues too.

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