The Similarities and Differences Between ADHD And Autism

Often times people have a hard time telling whether a child has a little bit of a wandering attention, or whether their child’s behavior is an indicator of an underlying condition. However, what should parents discuss with professionals? Often people immediately assume it could be ADHD or perhaps it’s a sign of autism. Sometimes parents and families have a hard time discerning between the two and people are commonly misguided to believe that the two are both on the spectrum. While ADHD and autism share a lot of similar traits, there are a number of things that are unique to each condition. Parents and guardians need to understand the differences and similarities in order to make the most informed decision about their child. At Lexington, we’re happy to provide the resources we can to help people make informed decisions and seek the services they need. Here is a breakdown of the differences between autism and ADHD.

What Is ADHD?

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is a neurodevelopmental disorder that affects some where near 8.5% of children and 2.5% of adults. It’s a condition that is characterized by difficulties with attention, impulse control and hyperactivity. People with ADHD may have trouble concentrating on the task at hand, remaining still or thinking before making a quick decision. ADHD impacts the way that the brain grows and develops. For many, the symptoms of ADHD can improve as a child grows and gains more focus or control.

What Is Autism?

Autism or Autism Spectrum Disorder can be a singular or a series of developmental disorders that affect language skills, behavior, social interactions, motor skills and the ability to learn. Autism affects somewhere between 1 in 59 and 1 in 65 kids. Autism causes are still not known and there is no traditional “cure” for autism. Rather, many advocates see autism as a distinct piece in a neurodiversity puzzle. Autism functions as a spectrum from mild to severe with many different experiences in between. On a social level, some of the struggles for kids with autism appear very similar to those with ADHD.



What Are The Similarities?

Certain aspects of both autism and ADHD overlap and may appear to be one or the other. Unfortunately many kids with autism end up misdiagnosed as having ADHD, but not many kids with ADHD experience the same. Both conditions can have limited social understanding of their behaviors and the effect on others. People with either condition may appear to have trouble with paying attention to certain things, although people with ADHD have a very different experience with their attention. Overall, they have symptoms that appear to be similar, but can be drastically different in certain aspects.

What Are The Major Differences?

There are several distinct factors that are pretty clear lines between autism and ADHD, although there are some people that can have both ADHD and autism, so parents and guardians need to recognize the key differences to help professionals with their diagnosis. While both might struggle with attention, people with ADHD have a hard time when asked to concentrate on a single task, so they tend to avoid tasks that require concentration. Meanwhile, a child with autism might stay hyper focused on a topic that interests them, while demonstrate trouble concentrating or even show signs of discomfort when asked to concentrate on things they’re not interested in. Kids with ADHD might talk quickly and loudly, wanting to have the last word or the first word in a conversation, while kids with autism may have difficulty expressing emotion or thoughts verbally. In addition, they may avoid eye contact and misunderstand social interactions.

When To Seek An Autism Diagnosis

For parents and guardians, if you suspect that your child might have either of these conditions, you should seek a diagnosis. Particularly with autism, the key to overcoming certain barriers is early intervention. If you have received a diagnosis of autism for you or your child, now is the time to seek out the help of specific services to overcome some of the social and behavioral hurdles. Contact Lexington Services now and we will help you find the services you need and answer any questions you may have. Call 480-900-1009 now.