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We have changed our name! Kids on the Spectrum is now called Living on the Spectrum

Is it Autism or ADHD?

Autism and ADHD can look similar, despite being very different conditions. This can be confusing. Careful observation of the indicators and a diagnosis from a medical professional will assist in a diagnosis.

What is Autism and ADHD?

Autism is a lifelong developmental condition that usually appears before the age of three and affects how a person interacts with and makes sense of the world around them. It can affect their language skills, behaviour, how they relate to others, and how they learn. ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder) features inattention, distractibility, hyperactivity, and impulsivity, affecting several brain functions and learning and social interactions.

Autism and ADHD can look similar, despite being very different conditions

How is Autism and ADHD similar?

Both people with Autism and ADHD can have struggles. Particularly with: focusing, impulsivity, communicating, doing schoolwork, and relationships, which is why these conditions can be confused.

How are they different?

Those with autism have difficulty focusing on things they don’t like and instead fixating on things they do like. In contrast, those with ADHD dislike and avoid things that will require concentration. With regard to social interactions, it also comes down to specific details. Those with autism tend to have difficulty understanding Neurotypical social interactions. The may even find it hard to make eye contact or put their thoughts and feelings into words. Children with ADHD may talk nonstop, might interrupt and take over conversations or have trouble taking turns, but are still aware of social etiquette. This may be confusing to some, as autistic kids can talk nonstop about a favourite subject at times.

The biggest difference

One of the biggest giveaways of the differences between the two conditions is that autistic children find comfort in order, repetition, and routine. In contrast, children with ADHD don’t like doing the same things again for a long time. they may even loose interest in a favourite topic or special interest.

Seek a professional for a diagnosis

Regardless of what condition you may suspect your child or even yourself may have, it is important to be diagnosed correctly by a medical professional. With the correct diagnosis and treatment, you or your child can live a full and happy life.

For more Autism and ADHD resources head to our Free National Autism and Spectrum directory.

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