Autism and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) can appear to be similar conditions because children who have either disorder may struggle to focus. They also tend to have social issues or may appear to disregard other people’s feelings at times.
Both conditions may also cause atypical language skills and an impaired ability to learn. This may lead to trouble with social interactions, playtime, and schoolwork.
One of the easiest ways to begin to determine which disorder a child may have involves observing how the child pays attention. Children with autism find it hard to focus on objects or tasks that they do not like.
For example, they may not be able to put puzzles together and may fidget with one puzzle piece for an extended period of time instead of attempting to do the puzzle. Eye contact avoidance, poor or no communication, a lack of interest in communicating, and appearing to be in a daze are also characteristic traits of autism.
Conversely, children with ADHD tend to perform tasks rapidly or in a hyperactive manner. They may also lose interest quickly in tasks they have to concentrate on. As a result, they constantly jump from one activity to another.
In addition, they tend to be so talkative that conversations or group activities are frequently disrupted. Sitting still is extremely difficult for children with this condition as well. If they are forced to sit, they usually fidget uncontrollably.
However, it is also important to remember that in rare instances, a child may have both conditions. Additionally, girls tend to present symptoms that are completely different from boys.
Therefore, if the presence of either disorder is suspected, speak with a physician about scheduling an appointment for autism or ADHD screening. An accurate diagnosis helps ensure that a child will receive appropriate treatment that fosters efficient learning and development.
Children with these conditions can make great progress with the right type of support. And of course, a great form of support that can be started right away is through nutrition. To learn about some of the top foods that can aggravate autism and ADHD symptoms and behaviors Click HERE to get your FREE Nutrition Intervention for Autism and ADHD Getting Started.
- Kotte A, et al. Autistic Traits in Children With and Without ADHD. Pediatrics. 2013;132(3): e612-e622.
- Hartman CA, Geurts HM, Franke B, Buitelaar JK, Rommelse NNJ. Changing ASD-ADHD symptom co-occurrence across the lifespan with adolescence as crucial time window: Illustrating the need to go beyond childhood. Neurosci Biobehav Rev. 2016;71:529-541.
- Lord C, Elsabbagh M, Baird G, Veenstra-Vanderweele J. Autism spectrum disorder. Lancet. 2018;392(10146):508-520.
- Ougrin D, et al. Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD): review for primary care clinicians. London J Prim Care (Abingdon). 2010;3(1):45-51.