Do I Have ADHD, Autism, or Both?

‘I think we’re missing something because it looks like more than just ADHD’ is a sentence we have heard many clients tell us over the years. Often, we discover that there are also learning disorders present, or anxiety/depression issues and in certain cases, an underlying autism spectrum disorder in the adults and children that we see at our clinic.

Autism and ADHD are both lifelong conditions that significantly impact a person’s functioning, across all ages. They can coexist in children and adults and lead to unique challenges in everyday life. People with either disorder often struggle in similar situations on a regular basis. Each disorder can exacerbate the other, making it complicated to appropriately diagnose.

Here are a few examples of symptoms that are often shared in ADHD and Autism:

  • Difficulty listening when spoken to directly
  • Difficulty making and sustaining eye contact during a conversation
  • Easily distracted by their surroundings
  • Sensory sensitivity leading to distractibility
  • Friendship issues
  • Challenges when it comes to executive functioning skills (ex. planning, time management, organization, etc.)

The first step in disentangling these disorders is to obtain a comprehensive assessment that not only includes testing of several areas of learning and cognition, but also includes a thorough review of a person’s developmental, emotional, and social history starting in early childhood. Therefore, we often take the time to consult with a client’s parents, significant other, friend, teachers, etc. (depending on the age) to collect this information. Accurate diagnosis is important to determine what interventions, supports, or accommodations would be most effective in minimizing the impact of these disorders in our clients’ lives and help them meet their full potential.

If you have questions about autism or ADHD for your child or for yourself or would like to schedule a consultation, we would be glad to assist you at 248.644.9466.