Abnormalities of attention (overly focused or easily distracted) are common in individuals with autism spectrum disorder, as is hyperactivity. When criteria for both ADHD and ASD are met, both diagnosis should be given.
Does your child present enough features of ADHD for you to get a professional opinion? Please take the screener here below from Additude magazine.
A persistent pattern of inattention and/or hyperactivity-impulsivity that interferes with functioning or development, as characterized by (1) and/or (2):
Inattention: Six (or more) of the following symptoms have persisted for at least 6 months to a degree that is inconsistent with developmental level and that negatively impacts directly on social and academic/occupational activities:
Note: The symptoms are not solely a manifestation of oppositional behavior, defiance, hostility, or failure to understand tasks or instructions. For older adolescents and adults (age 17 and older), at least five symptoms are required.
Often has difficulty sustaining attention in tasks or play activities (e.g., has difficulty remaining focused during lectures, conversations, or lengthy reading).
Often does not seem to listen when spoken to directly (e.g., mind seems elsewhere, even in the absence of any obvious distraction).
Often does not follow through on instructions and fails to finish schoolwork, chores, or duties in the workplace (e.g., starts tasks but quickly loses focus and is easily sidetracked).
Often has difficulty organizing tasks and activities (e.g., difficulty managing sequential tasks; difficulty keeping materials and belongings in order; messy, disorganized work; has poor time management; fails to meet deadlines).
Often fails to give close attention to details or makes careless mistakes in school work or during other activities.
Often avoids, dislikes, or is reluctant to engage in tasks that require sustained mental effort (e.g., schoolwork or homework; for older adolescents and adults, preparing reports, completing forms, reviewing lengthy papers).
Often loses things necessary for tasks or activities (e.g., school materials, pencils, books, tools, wallets, keys, paperwork, eyeglasses, mobile telephones).
Is often easily distracted by extraneous stimuli (for older adolescents and adults, may include unrelated thoughts).
Is often forgetful in daily activities (e.g., doing chores, running errands; for older adolescents and adults, returning calls, paying bills, keeping appointments).
Hyperactivity and impulsivity: Six (or more) of the following symptoms have persisted for at least 6 months to a degree that is inconsistent with developmental level and that negatively impacts directly on social and academic/occupational activities:
Note: The symptoms are not solely a manifestation of oppositional behavior, defiance, hostility, or a failure to understand tasks or instructions. For older adolescents and adults (age 17 and older), at least five symptoms are required.
Often fidgets with or taps hands or feet or squirms in seat.
Often leaves seat in situations when remaining seated is expected (e.g., leaves his or her place in the classroom, in the office or other workplace, or in other situations that require remaining in place).
Often runs about or climbs in situations where it is inappropriate. (Note: In adolescents or adults, may be limited to feeling restless.).
Often unable to play or engage in leisure activities quietly.
Is often "on the go," acting as if "driven by a motor" (e.g., is unable to be or uncomfortable being still for extended time, as in restaurants, meetings; may be experienced by others as being restless or difficult to keep up with).
Often talks excessively.
Often blurts out an answer before a question has been completed (e.g., completes people’s sentences; cannot wait for turn in conversation).
Often has difficulty waiting his or her turn (e.g., while waiting in line).
Often interrupts or intrudes on others (e.g., butts into conversations, games, or activities; may start using other people’s things without asking or receiving permission; for adolescents and adults, may intrude into or take over what others are doing).
Several inattentive or hyperactive-impulsive symptoms were present prior to age 12 years.
Several inattentive or hyperactive-impulsive symptoms are present in two or more settings (e.g., at home, school, or work; with friends or relatives; in other activities).
There is clear evidence that the symptoms interfere with, or reduce the quality of, social, academic, or occupational functioning.
The symptoms do not occur exclusively during the course of schizophrenia or another psychotic disorder and are not better explained by another mental disorder (e.g., mood disorder, anxiety disorder, dissociative disorder, personality disorder, substance intoxication or withdrawal).
314.01(F90.2) Combined presentation: If both Criterion A1 (inattention) and Criterion A2 (hyperactivity-impulsivity) are met for the past 6 months.
314.00(F90.0) Predominantly inattentive presentation: If Criterion A1 (inattention) is met but Criterion A2 (hyperactivity-impulsivity) is not met for the past 6 months.
314.01(F90.1) Predominantly hyperactive/impulsive presentation: If Criterion A2 (hyperactivity-impulsivity) is met and Criterion A1 (inattention) is not met for the past 6 months.
In partial remission: When full criteria were previously met, fewer than the full criteria have been met for the past 6 months, and the symptoms still result in impairment in social, academic, or occupational functioning.
Specify current severity:
Mild: Few, if any, symptoms in excess of those required to make the diagnosis are present, and symptoms result in no more than minor impairments in social or occupational functioning.
Moderate: Symptoms or functional impairment between "mild" and "severe" are present.
Severe: Many symptoms in excess of those required to make the diagnosis, or several symptoms that are particularly severe, are present, or the symptoms result in marked impairment in social or occupational functioning.
How do you make your child feel better after the world sends him into a tailspin?
Tips from parents who have stepped in your shoes
We remind him that we love him more than anyone else and show him how great he is!
Martha, Marietta, G.A.
We say or do something that will make him smile. Later, when he has calmed down, we discuss what the problem was and what to do the next time it happens.
I show him things that only he can do (my son can spin a toothpick on the table with only 1 trial) to re-boot his ego.
I tell her that I love her and do something I know will make her feel better. We then discuss what happened and agree on making better choices next time she finds herself in a similar social blind spot.
Things I wish you would know about me.....
I am not overtly hyperactive. I am hyperactive internally!
I don't have ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder), I pay toooooo much attention to everything. I could have ten things going on in my mind at the same time. Please don't ask me to pay attention to what you are doing or saying at that time. Can you joggle 5 apples at the same time?
I am bright and clever, I just don't know if my abilities will show up at the time they are needed.
I am not self-serving or a loner, I am just taken over by what I do because it often takes the whole of my attention to peform a task you can do with your eyes closed.
New things take over my attention and it takes me some time to detach myself from the old thing.
I am not a proscratinator, I find it difficult to pay attention to a task until it is urgent and it has to be done.
Things others see as imporant don't mean anything to me. It is only important if it is important to me and I don't know what is important to you because I am not in your head. So, how can I organize myself in order of priority if I don't know what is important and what is not?
I do not fit into most places because every organizational system is based on prioritization (by importance) and time management. How does one manage his time if everything has the same level of importance?
The problem is.... Everyone tells me to follow the neurotypical owner's manual but I am not neurotypical, I have a different set of rules!!! My brain is not any less than yours, it is just different. It does not work the same way or at the same speed.
I am any teacher's worst nightmare. I can't sustain my attention just because someting is important to everyone else, I can't follow multiple step commands because they are competing with the thousands of things that go through my mind all the time, I can't stop what I am doing without advanced warning because it is difficult for me to disengage from something I am doing and become engaged in something else. My ability to put my thoughts into sentences and then paragraphs remembering about punctuation, grammar, spelling and letter formation at the same time is a challenge. So in a nutshell, I can't follow directions, figure out what page we are on, turn in my assignments on time, do not tolerate change, cannot participate in a conversation until it is a topic of interest to me. I am impulsive because I find it difficult to control my emotions and self-regulate.