While both autism and ADHD may appear as similar on the surface, they actually differ from one another in terms of their symptoms, associated medical conditions, and ways of treatment.
Firstly, the symptoms of both autism and ADHD are different from one another. Children suffering from autism have the tendency to have intense focus and concentration on a singular item, while the ones who suffer from ADHD may show signs of having inattention. For instance, children with autism have unusual focus on parts of toys, such as the wheels on a car, rather than playing with the entire toy, whereas a child with ADHD has a hard time focusing and paying attention to details and sometimes, they may even be easily distracted by things like trivial noises or events that are usually ignored by others. Besides that, engagement in social interactions and communication with peers is also quite troublesome for autistic children compared to ones with ADHD, who has a high possibility of being hyperactive. A child of autism tends to have a repetitive use of language and a delay in learning to talk when they were little, resulting in them disengaging altogether from any kind of communication: “as many as 40% of people with autism never speak”, while ADHD children tend to be hyperactive, which can be seen when they fidget and squirm when seated or that they talk excessively compared to the former. Moreover, autism and ADHD can be seen as a contrast by their symptoms.
Secondly, each of both autism and ADHD have medical conditions coexisting with them, which are unlike one another’s. Both of the two disorders have syndromes connected to them: for autism, it is usually known to be associated with Down’s syndrome, while ADHD with Tourette syndrome. Autistic children who also suffers with Down’s syndrome can be affected by having a range of physical features that makes them distinguishable from other people. For ADHD receivers, there’s a high chance for them to also own Tourette syndrome, which causes the child to have various nervous tics and repetitive actions, and it can also be worsen by ADHD medications. Other than that, autism and ADHD are also linked with other disorders: cerebral palsy is deeply connected with autism and ADHD is related to Oppositional Defiant Disorder. Problems with movements and sense of co-ordination may appear in children owning both autism and cerebral palsy, a condition that affects the brain and nervous system in comparison with ADHD, which is said to make these children more likely to be disobedient and have outbursts of temper and that “as many as 30% to 50% of all children with ADHD have Oppositional Defiant Disorder”,. Therefore, autism and ADHD can be differentiated by the medical conditions that affiliate themselves with them both.
Thirdly, the method of treatment for autism and ADHD are also not as similar as they seem to be. For therapy method, autism is able to be controlled by one that treats speech impairment whereas ADHD receivers may attend behavior-related therapies in subduing their condition. Since autism is closely related to socializing problems, speech therapy may become a crucial treatment option for children suffering from it. Parents of children with ADHD have a choice in bringing their child to attend any Cognitive Behavioral therapy, one who may help them manage their problems by changing the way they think and behave. Besides therapy, the medications for both of the disorders are different: aripriprazole for autism, and guanfacine for ADHD. A 2009 study published in Pediatrics found that “in a group of 98 children, by week 8, 52% of those taking aripriprazole, in the form of Abilify, experienced a 25% or greater reduction in autism-related irritability symptoms”. In comparison with that, guanfacine acts on part of the brain to improve attention and it also reduces blood pressure. It’s used for ADHD in teenagers and children if other medicines are unsuitable or ineffective.