Is ADHD Responsible for Delaying Autism Diagnosis?
Is it possible that children with ADHD receive delayed autism diagnoses? A new study finds this to be so. A team of researchers from Duke University have commenced their research study in an attempt to uncover answers which they hope will give way to discovering newer and better treatments.
Consider the case of a 7-year-old boy, Darren Meek, who loves to fiddle with his toy scooter and play with his truck. The child says, “I believe I am more sensitive than others since I am on the autism spectrum.”
The child was diagnosed on the ASD spectrum at an age of four years.
Geraldine Dawson, director of the Duke Center for Autism, says, “More than 50 percent of the young children diagnosed with autism also have ADHD and the reasons behind the overlap of the disorders is relatively unknown.” Dr. Dawson further explains, “This overlap could play a serious role in the delayed diagnosis of ASD disorder.”
Autism is a condition that tends to affect an individual’s ability to interact socially while affecting his/her communication skills. The condition is seen to be triggered due to varied combinations of genetic abnormalities and is seen to vary from person to person. No two persons diagnosed with autism have similar symptoms.
ADHD, or Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, is a condition that largely affects traits such as focussing ability and hinders attentive skills. Often children with ADHD are seen to by hyperactive while being unable to focus on a single task and display lack of impulse control.
“Children with a possible overlap are seen to be 30 times likelier to have a diagnosis after they have crossed six years old,” comments Dr. Dawson.
The team of researchers believes the study will help them understand how to focus on getting an early detection in cases such as these.
Dawson says, “This is one of the major reasons, and our team is going to analyze the data of more than 9,000 children diagnosed with autism.”
The team plans to measure the response of the brain to the information presented in hopes to better understand the underlying links.
Dawson says, “We intend to understand if earlier treatments of ADHD can be interlinked to better treatments for autistic children.”
Darren’s mother, Myranda Meek, admits life is taking a better turn after her child’s dual diagnosis. The mother explains, “Being with a child diagnosed with autism has helped me understand the different ways our brains function.”
The study aims to evaluate multiple treatments involving a combination of medications and behavioral interventions for children diagnosed with ADHD.