The Aspergers-ADHD Overlap

Has your child been misdiagnosed? You might be surprised! 

More resources for parents of children and teens with High-Functioning Autism and Asperger's:

==> How To Prevent Meltdowns and Tantrums In Children With High-Functioning Autism and Asperger's

==> Parenting System that Significantly Reduces Defiant Behavior in Teens with Aspergers and High-Functioning Autism

==> Launching Adult Children with Asperger's and High-Functioning Autism: Guide for Parents Who Want to Promote Self-Reliance

==> Teaching Social Skills and Emotion Management to Children and Teens with Asperger's and High-Functioning Autism

==> Parenting Children and Teens with High-Functioning Autism: Comprehensive Handbook

==> Unraveling The Mystery Behind Asperger's and High-Functioning Autism: Audio Book

==> Highly Effective Research-Based Parenting Strategies for Children with Asperger's and High-Functioning Autism


Anonymous said...

This is so incredibly helpful!! It explains the mystery of my child's uncanny ability to be still and focus intensely on topics he enjoys, yet go through painful looking non-stop contortions other times.

Anonymous said...

This is very helpful!! My son has been diagnosed with Aspergers & ADHD. As I was watching the video it explains a lot that is going on with my son. Is there anyway that we can get a transcript of "The Asperger-ADHD Overlap"? I would love to print it off & help my son's teachers understand a little more. Thank you!

Anonymous said...

Dear Dr. Hutten,

Yes! That's exactly what happened with my son. He was diagnosed as A.D.H.D. when he was 9 years old. We had him on 10mg of Metadate CD for six weeks and while he was able to have tunnel vision and "focus on his schoolwork" according to his teachers, he had all of the adverse side effects of that drug and continued to fail his classes. He was taken off of the drug and was evaluated and found to have Dyslexia. However, I still believed there was still something other than the Dyslexia causing his problems. So now we're waiting for him to be evaluated by an Educational Director who thinks he has High Functioning Autism better known as Aspergers. I'm dealing with mixed feelings about what the results are going to say.

Thank-you so much for this video.

Anonymous said...

My son too was first misdiagnosed with ADHD,when he was 6yrs old. However the medication didn't improve his behaviors and caused many side effects,so I quickly removed them. It was not until he was in the 3rd grade when a teacher,who's son was also an aspie,first told me of it. It took another several years to get him diagnosed. Now in the 7th grade and still dealing with the negatives of his lack of an earlier diagnoses, school and Jr.High have been a bad experience for a child once so eager to learn. Thanks for all you do in helping educate people about this topic. The news letters have helped so many times.

Anonymous said...

I have a stepson, 10 yrs old, who was diagnosed in 2010 with aspergers and adhd. I am finding myself overwhelmed at times handling him. I love him very much and want to learn how to cope with this and help him deal with this also. We talk to him almost on a daily basis on his behavior. He is a straight A student but he gets in trouble for talking in class and making noises constantly. He is bossy towards my 7 yr old daughter and fights with her all the time. He does not want to share his toys with her but he plays with her stuff all the time and she never says a word. He has meltdowns all the time. He argues with his dad and I all the time. We use the time out method of discipline and take away his favorite things, but that does not work, he goes right back to doing and acting how he wants to. Nothing we try works. He sees a therpist specialized in aspergers but it doesnt help him either. He knows what and how he is supposed to act but does the opposite. This is putting alot of stress between his dad and I. I am affraid it will cause us to part ways. I need help in learning how to cope with this and learn ways I can help him. He also has problems with hitting other kids whem he gets mad, and has hit, kicked and thrown stuff at my daughter. I love him and his dad and so does my daughter- please give me advice to help our situation. Thank you so much!

Joy Spencer said...

AWESOME video, Mark!!!! I will definitely be posting the weblink to my listserv....so many parents and professionals need to see this video. I am wondering if the script is available as well?!?!

Anonymous said...

Okay, so this video touches on the fact that ADHD and AS symptoms overlap. But, what do you do about the inattention problems AS kids have? Do you try ADHD meds or can we assume they will not work because it is a different disorder? Are there any sound medical options for AS like there seems to be with ADHD? Or, do we need to focus on behavior modification with AS kids in order to improve attention? I have a psychologist that we see who is encouraging us to try ADHD meds to see if they will help. Tried a stimulant for one day and it was aweful, would never try it again. Now I'm being steared toward the non-stimulants. Honestly, does anyone really know what the appropriate protocol would be for AS vs. ADHD? Are there any specific guidelines? I am seriously disgusted at the medical and psych community for not knowing what to do. My son has a disorder but he is too precious to be an experimental subject!! Plus, why do I see a psychologist when he barely offers any suggestions for modifying the behaviour. As a parent, I am pretty much on my own in handeling this.

Anonymous said...

My son Ethan was diagnosied just over 2 weeks ago with mild Aspergers and possible ADHD. I'm a single mum with 2 children Ethan 4 yrs 10mths and Madison 2 yrs 4mths. Needless to say life is interesting at the quiet times let alone the mad crazy times. I'm looking for some guidance/assistance as to the best books, websites etc... to read to gain knowledge. Knowledge for both understanding and working to set my son up for success and also how to give others ie family that believe the problems are mine not my sons, some insights in what Aspergers is and how they can understand and work with my son in the best way for him.

We have started using Ritalin to control some of the volcanic behaviour etc... We are currently taking 5mg twice a day. It is taking the edge of things, this is true. I've also tried over the last 3mths a Gluten and Diary Free Diet which also helped take the edge of things. But being a picky eater is not an easy task and with even more limited options However, since taking the Ritalin Ethan is not eating much at all. I am at the point of considering to revert back to a normal diet just to give him more variety of food in the hope that he will eat something.

I hate to admit I am a very outgoing person that enjoy's being out and about in life experiencing the wonderful things and showing my kids new places etc... however we don't go out anymore it's embarassing and hard to manage Ethan and some of the issues. I/my family want to share the good things and places in life with my kids but at this stage it's all on hold, as is my returning to work due to Ethan's response the last time I tried.

I am purely seeking for guidance and assistance. I have been reading a lot over the past couple of weeks but have no idea what is a reliable source of information to start with. I have some key questions to seek answers for at this time.

Mark Hutten, M.A. said...

RE: My granddaughter has been prescribed meds for ADHD, but these meds appear to make her aggressive.

Stimulants have been reported to have a range of adverse psychiatric effects on kids taking them for ADHD. In studies, 9% of children receiving the extended release form of Adderall have mood swings. Here’s how you can work with your doctor to decide whether your granddaughter is having mood swings and aggression because of psychostimulant use.

The first thing to assess is whether she might be abusing the stimulant. Stimulants are among the safest of all psychiatric medications when used as prescribed. But they are also prone to abuse, and in high doses they frequently produce all sorts of sinister side effects, including frank psychosis.

The next question to ask is whether there is a relationship in time between the psychostimulant and the symptoms.:

Suppose a child had always been emotionally stable and compliant -- and now, one week after starting a stimulant, she is screaming one moment, laughing the next and getting into fistfights at school. This would be strongly suggestive that the stimulant is to blame. If the stimulants are stopped and the child returns to normal, that would clinch the case.

Suppose a child had been on a stimulant for five years -- and now, at age 13, was beginning to show mood swings and aggressive behavior. Let's say you stop the medication, but the emotional problems and aggression continue. This would suggest that the stimulant is not to blame.

There are other reasons why kids develop mood swings and aggression. Normal kids can react this way to bad family situations or other very stressful situations. Kids who are on a dangerous track toward adult criminal behavior also frequently show violent aggression and can have unpredictable moods.

In any event, go back to her doctor and insist that he take another look at what’s going on.


Unknown said...

I know someone with mild asperger's and he use to take a small dose of ritalin being that he has ADHD-predominantly inattentive type, but what I was told was that he had severe adverse reactions probably due to his OCD issues. Despite his troubles as a youngster, he is now a graduate of Pharmacy school, is dating a relative of mine, and chats with everyone. Apparently, as a child, he was the opposite. He was a classical artistic boy. He just literally woke up one morning and said, "enough, I cannot live this way forever" and did something about it. He then broke out of his shell and eventually became the man he is today. Granted, he still has his flare-ups like shutting down in an argument with his girlfriend along with other issues. He is quite stubborn and sometimes can be inappropriate at times with his emotions. But, he is aware of it. He is fairly bright, but is also the "smartest dumb a...you will ever know! This did not come from me...lol. None-the-less, I applaud him for what he has gone through with his asperger's, ADD, and OCD.

I myself have ADD and some LD. I've been told, or at least my parents were told this, as a child, that I would not go far in life due to my supposed IQ. However, due to my ADD, it ranged greatly. They just only focused on the smaller picture rather then the big picture. I believe that people with ADD/ADHD have to learn things in order to understand things unlike others who grasp the knowledge naturally without all the game playing with the mind to comprehend it. My IQ has actually changed over the years...been tested twice that I remember that proves this and the second testing shocked the one completing the test. Her theory was that I did not know or understand the questions given to me during the first test because I had yet to learn those topics knowing my struggles with ADD...was in special ed classes until 7th grade (year I was tested the first time). Since then, I moved along into private school with tutoring from both my parents which helped tremendously. I learned things I never dreamed of learning. Granted, it took a lot of pushing me to do things, taking stimulants, and being constantly reminded that I may not be the brightest, but I am not stupid. I also had to play a lot of tricks with my mind to remember things. Thanks to the love and support of my family, I made it through to high school. I went to college as well. I had my good days and bad. I went to two colleges before I finally saw the light. It was in community college that I completed my AA and received a medical transcription certificate. I eventually went back to finish a more high energy program...the medical assistant program...along with passing the registered MA exam on my own! So, I am living proof that you can do almost anything if you set your mind to it. I followed my parents footsteps in a way. My dad is a doctor and mom is a retired RN. Granted, you do have to know your limits. Me becoming a doctor is not realistic...becoming a nurse is a possibility, but still not sure if realistic...becoming an MA is realistic and I did it! Now, I am married to an IT computer guy...newlyweds:) I feel very accomplished and am told daily I should be proud of myself. Even my MA teacher who kind of knew my story told me that...and, guess what? I am proud of myself. Not every day is a perfect day due to my ADD and impulsivity that goes along with my particular ADD, but I thank God daily for all He has given me in life. I always try to remind myself that things could be worse :) I just laugh it off now and my husband messes with my mind and teases me in a fun-loving way :)

JaspieMummy said...

Hi, I feel for you! Your stepson sounds a lot like my son. He is 5 and was only diagnosed last May, so we're still getting to grips with everything. He also has a little sister and bosses her. He likes telling everyone else what they should be doing but feels the rules don't apply to him. It is so hard and, like you, my husband and I often argue about how best to handle things. Our son has violent outbursts so I sometimes feel like the victim of an abusive relationship! Anyway, here's what I've learned: you can often only change one behaviour at a time (so focus on the most challenging first), teach him to recognise signs he is getting "wound up" and help him choose ways to wind back down (for my son drawing or going for a run),use a social story for each behaviour you are trying to change. We also have a star chart. Time outs do not work with our son but we do take him out of situations if he is starting to meltdown. It sounds terrible but we often appeal to his own self interest as trying to get him to care about another person's perspective is almost impossible! We use "when...then" so "when you have brushed your teeth, then you can watch TV." Basically, if you do what we want you get something you want. We are making baby steps. Progress is slow but you'll get there. Good luck!

lauratressler100@yhahoo.com said...

Hi my name is Laura Tressler and my 16yr old son has ADHD and possibly Asburgers. I need help controlling his Fits and so on.

amymwz said...

That would be great. I second this.

Zoƫ V said...

There is now an understanding that ADHD children/adults can also hyperfocus on something. Also not all ADHD people are hyperactive externally- the inattentive type are hyperactive internally. The speaker seemed very much to be talking about boys: in both adhd and ASD girls often present in a different way. If you have a girl read literature about girls with ASD and adhd.

Raising Kids with Autism Spectrum Disorder: Parents' Grief and Guilt

Some parents grieve for the loss of the youngster they   imagined  they had. Moms and dads have their own particular way of dealing with the...