Young Justin Perry of Alcona County, Michigan is a bundle of energy, always on the move. His parents find it tough to keep up with him and ensure his security. He is restless, unable to complete his schoolwork, and assigned chores. He has been diagnosed with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. For those who are not familiar with this disorder, this blog will serve as an introduction to a disorder which is more common than we are aware.
Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is a common neurodevelopment disorder found among children with 9.4% of US kids between the ages of 2 and 17 afflicted by it. The symptoms of ADHD are quite broad-based and include fidgeting, impatient, unable to sit still, or finish an assigned task.
There are three types of ADHD:
Predominantly hyperactive-impulsive - In this condition, symptoms of impulsivity and hyperactivity are manifested in the person. Symptoms include fidgeting, constantly talking, can't sit still, impatient, and so on.
Predominantly inattentive – The person experiences more symptoms of inattention such as getting bored easily, slow movement, can't focus on a single task and so on.
Combination – This is self-explanatory. The person manifests symptoms of both inattention and hyperactive-impulsive behavior.
It's quite common to confuse ADHD with ASD and vice versa as kids display two common symptoms found in both these disorders: focus and communication. However, there are certain symptoms in persons with ADHD who are not present in those with ASD. These symptoms include:
The overlapping of some symptoms is not the only reason for them being indistinguishable from each other. It has been found that some children may be having both disorders simultaneously. As per the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), as many as 14% of kids with ADHD are on the spectrum. These children are more likely to have learning issues as well as reduced social skills as compared to kids who only had one of these disorders.
As per the American Psychiatric Association's (APA) review of studies in 2014, research revealed the startling discovery that 30-50% of persons with ASD also exhibit symptoms of ADHD. The exact reason for this is not known, though it could be linked to a particular gene. However, more research is required to validate this theory.
The correct diagnosis by an experienced and licensed professional is the first step in the treatment process. Due to the similarities in the two different diagnoses, often times treatment for ADHD diagnosis can also be effective for an ASD diagnosis. Often it's a combination of different therapeutic approaches coupled with medication at times, that has shown to be effective for some cases depending on the person and situation.
Young Justin has started receiving therapy and is showing gradual improvement, much to the relief of his parents. Parents feel more empowered and knowlegeable of how to help their son as they navigate the future.
Do you know anyone with ADHD? If yes write to us and share your experiences. We would love to hear from you.