Is ADHD parallel to autism?

iVillage Member
Registered: 12-14-2009
Is ADHD parallel to autism?
Mon, 03-04-2013 - 2:03am

Over the years I've just sensed striking similarities, I've had a few friends with ADHD and they all exhibited intense intellectual rigor and sensitivity that I've never seen in neurotypicals, and seeing the way Quentin Tarantino talks and what has been said by actors in reaction to seeing him the unparalleled childlike joy and energy he has in making a movie really strikes me as parallel with the intense comfort an autistic child gets from stimming. Could ADHD be perhaps a milder variant of autism that posseses the same kind of idiosyncrasies as in autism but without the vulnerability and need of intense care? I am absolutely not trying to insult the autstic in any way, having witnessed and studied it extensively I would in no way trivialize the condition, this is just something I've picked up on over the years and wondered if there's any merit to this.

Avatar for Cmmelissa
iVillage Member
Registered: 11-13-2008
Mon, 03-04-2013 - 1:48pm

I do think there could be some merit to your thinking.  It made news last week that there are some shared genetic risk factors between autism, ADHD, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, and major depression:

I've wondered at times if my ADHD, inattentive, son could be on the spectrum.  If he is, it would be high functioning.  On the flip side, I have a niece and nephew who are both ADHD, hyperactive, and I don't see the same traits in them.  The spectrum is so vast though, it's very hard to say. 

iVillage Member
Registered: 12-28-2003
Sun, 03-10-2013 - 2:55pm

Thats an interesting article... I knew that several "mental illnesses" shared common symtoms, autism and aDHD being one.  I actually had my son put thru an autism spectrum disorder when  he was younger, however I honestly didnt think he did have it, main reason being his wasnt socially withdrawn, and they confirmed he wasnt but did shows signs of ADHD.  

unfortunately it seems like autism sometimes get more "positive" type attention in the news and media; whether it be because of celebrities (including sports athletes) who have children with autism; whereas ADHD I dont know it seems to get a bad name at times and sometimes people dont seem to think its as real as it is


Single mom to an internationally adopted son, age 9 3/4; adopted at age 2.5 months from country of Georgia; diagnosed with ADHD, ODD and developmental delay issues

iVillage Member
Registered: 09-12-2003
Fri, 04-05-2013 - 8:56am

I would venture to guess its probably more some kids with ADHD also fall on that autism scale. While I never ended up getting him tested, at 3 we did a developmental test through pedi office. We were actually concerned over speech. He has birth defect that can cause speech but hadn't needed it and got this very generic report from his specialist clinic that year that kept referencing him being in speech and where to work and were taken back some wondered did she feel he needed it or have him confused so pedi office offered this testing and pedi said it would cover speech. His speech was fine but she picked up other things. DH isn't receptive to some things (including ADHD and if its not tradition autism where kid isn't speaking and rocking in corner he doesn't really buy it...he is bending some) and where day care had no issues I didn't go further. Flash foward and some of these thing coming up with school and I was going to push it but never went further then the ADHD at this point. I do think he is on the high end of the autism scale but I know he also has ADHD. I don't think he was missed diagnosised with one not the other and school meets the needs without the autism diagnosis and I just didn't want another label.

Now I have known other kids with just austism spectrum disorder or just ADHD and others with both. Just like some ADHD kids can have anxiety issues and others don't. All our kids are puzzled made up of different peices.