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Is my child Aspergers or ADHD?

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Parents often wonder if their child has Aspergers (Autism Spectrum) and is often taken aback when the child is diagnosed with ADHD combined presentation instead of Aspergers ( Autism Spectrum).  The reason for this is because Attention Deficit Hyperactivity-Impulsivity Disorder  (ADHD) combined presentation shares similar characteristics of Aspergers as described in the DSM IV TR. In the new DSM V , there is no longer a separate diagnosis of Aspergers and Autism Spectrum.  Background information often helps to differentiate Aspergers and ADHD. Here are some differences and similarities between the characteristics of Aspergers and ADHD.


Aspergers love order and routine while a person with ADHD doesn’t like doing the same thing or doing it for a long time even if it helps. A person with ADHD may be able to indulge into an activity.

Aspergers often have more delays in development than a person with ADHD. For example, a child with Aspergers (Autism Spectrum) may miss motor skills development milestones such as catching a ball.



Both have poor social skills. Aspergers have difficulty and challenges in social reciprocity ( understanding facial recognition, understanding complex non verbal communication). ADHD people have difficulty maintaining friendships because of behaviors such as being impulsive, getting in trouble frequently, not following rules of game etc.

Both break rules or seem oppositional. Aspergers break rules because they don’t understand while a person with ADHD may break rules they don’t like it or are impulsive or inattentive but they understand the rule.

ADHD and Aspergers May both experience poor executive functioning skills such as organizational skills but ADHD children have more fluid reasoning skills, less rigid in their treatment in facts than children who are Aspergers. 

Both may experience sensory integration problems whereby they may either over respond or under respond to sensory input such as those of our senses(Ghazinadeh, 2011). Sensory information is processed and interpreted by the brain for us to know how to respond to different stimuli of the environment(Scherer, 2019).

A child usually displays symptoms of ADHD and/or Aspergers (Autism Spectrum) in their early years and diagnosis at an early stage is very important. To know if your child has Aspergers (Autism Spectrum) or ADHD or both, your child needs to be evaluated by a psychologist or neuropsychologist. Keep in mind that every child is different and unique and 1 present symptom may not necessarily mean that your child has ADHD and/or Aspergers (Autism Spectrum) but it is always great to consult with your psychologist or neuropsychologist.  




Ghazinadeh,A. (2011). Sensory Processing Problems in Children with ADHD, a Systematic Review. Psychiatry Investigation. NCBI. Retrieved from  https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3149116/#!po=19.0000


Scherer, P. (2019). Whats Causing My Child’s Sensory Integration Problems. Additude. Retrieved from https://www.additudemag.com/sensory-processing-disorder-or-adhd/ 

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