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.


Filed Under: Asperger's Syndrome, ADHD Symptoms, Comorbid Conditions with ADD
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Help your ADHD child make lasting friendships and social relationships. ADDitude magazine

Some parents wonder whether their child with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADD/ADHD) may have some form of autism. And they wonder for good reason: Most families of children with Asperger’s syndrome (AS), an autism spectrum disorder, receive an ADD/ADHD diagnosis -- or misdiagnosis -- before a pediatrician concludes that it’s AS.

The symptoms of autism spectrum disorders and ADD/ADHD overlap. Most children on the autism spectrum have symptoms of ADD/ADHD -- difficulty settling down, social awkwardness, the ability to focus only on things that interest them, and impulsivity.

A mother I recently met with summed up her confusion and eventual enlightenment: “John is smart, and quick to learn something new, if he is interested,” she says. “But he has a terrible time focusing on things he isn’t interested in. When this happens, he starts rocking or pacing around the room. For years, we thought it was ADD/ADHD, but, at his last evaluation, his teachers suggested that he might have a form of autism. After seeing a pediatrician, he received a diagnosis of Asperger’s. Knowing he has it -- and working to relieve the symptoms -- is a relief.”

Next: Asperger's Syndrome Cause, Warning Signs, and Symptoms

Why Parents Miss Signs of Asperger's Syndrome

Asperger's Syndrome Diagnosis and Treatment

Accommodations for Asperger's Syndrome at School


This article comes from the Fall 2010 issue of ADDitude.

To read this issue of ADDitude in full, buy the back issue.


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