Can Dual Diagnosis Offer the Right Solution for ADHD and Autism Symptoms Diagnosis?


A recent study carried out by Kennedy Krieger Institute shows one-third of children diagnosed with autism also showcase significant ADHD symptoms.

Autism and ADHD

Children in the age group of four to seven years old were subjected to the study.

The study, touted as a breakthrough, was successful in identifying the co-occurrence of autism and ADHD symptoms.

Further, the researchers’ group observed autistic children who showed typical signs of ADHD symptoms were more likely to be susceptible to social, adaptive functioning, and impaired cognitive symptoms in comparison to their peers who only had autism.

Social complexities in children with ADHD and autism have been analysed in earlier studies also.

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Shockingly, the studies reveal children with both ADHD and autism are four times more prone to being a bully than their peers.

The major difference between the earlier study and the present one is that the former was able to identify the existing link between ADHD and ASD; while on the other hand, this study aims at providing a better analysis of the links.

This study included young infants prior to ADHD diagnosis.

Dr. Rebecca Landa, director of ASD-related disorders at Kennedy Institute, says that with an increased occurrence of these two disorders co-occurring and a combined understanding about the ways these two disorders blend, we can ultimately see better outcomes which could improve the quality of life.

The recent modification to DSM-5 to remove prohibition of dual diagnosis of ADHD and autism has many benefits down the line.

162 children were subjected to a longitudinal development study. The children were split into two different groups:

  • With ASD group
  • Without ASD group

63 of the young children were observed to have an ASD diagnosis. Out of these, 18 of them were seen to show significant ADHD symptoms.

The authors state that this study helps in representing a narrower and a younger sample compared to the earlier studies.

Dr. Landa says that focussing on young children helped to identify different subsets. “This helped us design special interventional programs.” Landa further highlights that tailored intervention programs help improve outcomes at a better level.

Autistic children who were also diagnosed with ADHD were seen to be more prone to cognitive delays while having severe forms of autism symptoms such as repetitive behaviours, in comparison to those with only ASD.

The authors stress the importance of this information to help improve treatments for infants and young children who are diagnosed with ASD and ADHD.

Can Dual Diagnosis Offer the Right Solution for ADHD and Autism Symptoms Diagnosis
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Can Dual Diagnosis Offer the Right Solution for ADHD and Autism Symptoms Diagnosis
Are ADHD and Autism Interlinked? Are children with disorders at a greater risk of becoming a bully? An intriguing article that provides useful insights.
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