Autism & ADHD connection?

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Is There More to the Connection?

You may already know that I have been diagnosed with Attention Deficit Disorder.  I was diagnosed about 8 years ago.  That revelation changed my life.  All these things that seemed "wrong" about me finally made sense.  I always wondered why I wasn't able to live successfully the way other people so easily seemed to. I always messed everything up it seemed.  The fever pitch was when I was put on academic probation during my first college stint.  I was smart; I always tested well.  But trying to pass college classes?  Impossible.

I began to read, read, and read up some more on ADD as well as work on behavior modification.  That helped immensely.  Once I understood how my brain worked, I went on to be very successful in the military as well as college. 

Autism comes roaring in

Then Kekito came along in 2007.  My son progressed beautifully until he was close to a year old.  Suddenly, and slowly at the same time, I realized he was "different".  At first I thought, "OK, he has ADD".  Then it became more apparent that it was actually Autism.

I didn't know much at the time about Autism.  The more I learned, the more I pondered the possible connection to ADD/ADHD.  There were so many symptoms of Autism that seemed to overlap with my very own diagnosis.  So much so, to the point that I found myself googling "Asperger's in adults".  I started to wonder if maybe it was Asperger's I had after all.  But I knew that couldn't be because I was all too clearly able to empathize with others (Theory of Mind).  That is the singular difference I've noticed.  That, and the fact that in Autism the symptoms seem tenfold at least.

Day in and day out I wish that I could find some research on the possibility of a connection.  I can't help but wonder if ADD is on the highest functioning end of the spectrum.


These are my reasons for wondering:


- They are both neurological disorders that likely have strong genetic factors.
- Both affect the production and levels of various facets of body chemistry.
- Both affect sleeping patterns/behaviors.
- Both affect the ability to relate to others socially.
- Personally, I have an incredibly difficult time understanding sarcasm (just as one would with Autism).
- Both have various sensory processing problems.
- Personally, I have a remarkable memory for various types of facts.
- From what I have seen so far, both are very visual learners/thinkers.


I could go on about each of these topics- but I think that's better left for another day, another post.

I really hope someday I can find some sort of research either linking the two together, or conclusively setting them apart.  Until then, I'll keep on wondering. 

What do you think about the possibility?

10 comments:

Ashley said...

Very interesting questions. My hubby has ADD and our son is on the spectrum. Guess what I'll be googling for the next two hours? haha

Sergio said...

Sounds like a possibility I guess. Wonder if anyone else has thought that....

Mamabear said...

Very interesting post. In my experience as an early childhood educator there IS a link. In very young children it can be very difficult to tell in some cases. Usually, there is a sensory issue, which can appear to be a child's inability to stay on task - this can then be because the child is checking out or unable to focus due to add/adhd.

Mamabear said...

Very interesting post. In my experience as an early childhood educator there IS a link. In very young children it can be very difficult to tell in some cases. Usually, there is a sensory issue, which can appear to be a child's inability to stay on task - this can then be because the child is checking out or unable to focus due to add/adhd.

Mamabear said...

Very interesting post. In my experience as an early childhood educator there IS a link. In very young children it can be very difficult to tell in some cases. Usually, there is a sensory issue, which can appear to be a child's inability to stay on task - this can then be because the child is checking out or unable to focus due to add/adhd.

Chris P-M said...

Interesting possibility! I've actually considered that I may have ADD also (my hubby too...yeah, we're REAL good together. LOL!) My parents bought us both t-shirts that said "hey look...there goes a rabbit" (implying that neither one of us can finish a task or a conversation without jumping into another subject.)

Life certainly is interesting with all these added quirks, isn't it?!

TheSublimeLife said...

chris- that's hilarious! I love the rabbit shirts! =) I need one I think! I can't imagine being married to someone else with ADD! That would be sheer chaos at times! ;)

@jencull (jen) said...

I believe there is a connection, I did actually think that ADD and ADHD were on the spectrum but maybe that is because children are often diagnosed with say Aspergers and ADHD or another spectrum diagnosis AND ADHD, probably where I got the idea and thought that it was on the spectrum!

Thanks for joining in blog gems. Jen

ella said...

I don't have much experience of autism but that seems to be a big list of similarities. I hope you manage to find some research either now or new research in the future that can give you some more information.

Glad to have found your blog x

Diane M. Kennedy said...

Hi Jill
I am the author of "The ADHD Autism Connection" (2002)

Many years ago like you, I had a lot of questions about autism and ADHD. My son was 4. He is now twenty. My writing partner, Rebecca Banks and I just finished a brand new book, "Bright Not Broken" that will be published in September 2011. Like me she is also a mom who had questions we couldn't find answers to. She is also an educator.

We have spent the last 10+ years researching the research- you may find some of the answers helpful given your interest in looking for research on the subject.

theadhdautismconnection.com is our website and we have a page on Facebook " The ADHD Autism Connection.

Best wishes to you and keep asking questions! ;-)
Warmly,
Diane M. Kennedy