Is It Asperger's Syndrome or ADHD?

Are your child's symptoms related to ADHD or Asperger's syndrome? Learn more about the differences between warning signs, diagnosis, and treatment of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and Asperger's syndrome.

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Asperger's Diagnosis and Treatment

Getting Evaluated for Asperger's Syndrome: Parents who suspect that their child has Asperger's syndrome should consult with a developmental and behavioral pediatrician, a child psychiatrist, or a psychologist with expertise in the autism spectrum. The evaluation will likely involve observing your child and talking to you about his development. You may be asked about your child’s social interaction and communication skills. Your child may undergo several tests to determine her level of intellect and academic abilities, and to assess her abilities in the areas of speech, language, and visual-motor problem-solving.

Parents can assist the doctor’s evaluation. Write down any symptoms you have noticed, key personal information (any major stress or recent life changes), a list of medications, vitamins, and supplements your child takes, and questions you want to ask the doctor.

Treatment Plan for Children with Asperger's Syndrome: Most children benefit from early, specialized interventions that focus on behavior management and social-skills training: learning how to interpret gestures, eye contact, tone of voice, humor, and sarcasm, for example. Cognitive behavior therapy may help them manage obsessive behavior and anxiety.

About half of children with AS will be treated with medication. While stimulant medications, like Ritalin, are among those most commonly prescribed, caution is advised. Stimulants are less likely to be effective than in children diagnosed with ADD/ADHD alone, and more likely to cause side effects.

Next: Accommodations for Asperger's Syndrome at School

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