Relationship of Autism & ADHD: Recent Link Between the Childhood Disorders


ADHD and autism, still two separate disorders entirely have been found by recent studies to have some striking similarities. A study was conducted at the University of Southern California. Based on the study, it is proposed that Chromosome 16 is an affected chromosome observed in many children diagnosed with autism and ADHD. Though the two disorders are fairly different, there are a couple behavioral patterns that are similar and are seen in children who have either disorder. It has also been shown through recent studies that ADHD and Asperger’s disorders are closely related.

The Autism Bandwagon

The Similarities

Common behaviors exhibited on both of the disorders are tantrums, bad judgment of danger, hyperactivity, and impaired gross motor skills. Because the behaviors are so similar, sometimes children with high functioning autism have a form of ADHD rather than autism. On the other hand, some children with high functioning autism may have both autism and ADHD. Often these children are taken off the spectrum when most of their autism specific behaviors are eliminated through behavioral therapy and other treatments. This gives parents more hope for their child, while ADHD is still a type of learning disorder, children with ADHD have a higher chance of living life as adults with no assistance needed and many live as if they never had the disorder at all.

More Information

There are a few books that talk about the relation of ADHD and autism, one being entitled, “The ADHD-Autism Connection: A Step Toward More Accurate Diagnosis and Effective Treatments,” written by Diane Kennedy. No evidence of the connection however is definite, as is with most theories that involve the cause of autism and other related topics. One thing that has been found to be true about the disorders through the research is the heredity of both disorders, being if someone if the family has it, it is likely other children in the family can be affected.