ADHD vs AS Traits, Similarities & Differences

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syrella
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19 Nov 2011, 5:33 pm

Hi all!

I thought it'd be interesting to make a list of some of the traits (shared or not) between ADHD'ers and those on the spectrum. This list is not complete, will probably not apply to everyone, and simply reflects some of my observations. Please feel to correct me or to add to the list. My hope is that it may help people in trying to decide where they fit in.

AS/Autism Spectrum
Detail oriented- may miss the forest for the trees
May be poor at multitasking
Generally prefer sameness and routine
Good at planning, may map out events far in advance- prefers to have conversations scripted out
May not be able to pick up social cues
May not understand tone of voice - may misunderstand sarcasm, not know when someone is lying, etc
May not be able to read facial expressions
May not be able understand body language
May have difficulty remembering faces or names
Prone to monologues and one-sided conversations
May have alexythmia to varying degrees - may be unable to express certain feelings in words, may not be able to differentiate emotions
May have difficulty with language processing- may take things literally, misunderstand figurative speech, etc
Theory of mind impairments- may have difficulty realizing that others think or act differently than themselves
Intense and singular interests that are relatively stable over a long period of time
May be fascinated with parts of objects
May start reading at an early age or have a "savant" skill
Has trouble with small talk, likely will not see the point
Honesty is extremely important- may tell the truth even at a disadvantage to self or others
Emphasis placed on accuracy and information exchange in conversations
May not respond to medication, but some do respond to low dose stimulants and anti-depressants

ADHD
More general minded - may get hung up on details, but generally more focused on the big picture
May enjoy multitasking. Some will find it overwhelming while others may excel at it
Have difficulty with schedules and routines
Generally poor at planning and time management, prone to procrastination
Good at improvisation and doing tasks "on the fly". Scripts will likely be ignored.
Can pick up social cues, but may miss them due to not paying attention
Can understand tone of voice
Can recognize facial expressions
Can understand most body language
May ramble, seemingly with no purpose
Aware of emotions, but may find them difficult to regulate or manage
Impulsive- possibly a compulsive buyer
Impatient- may finish sentences for other people, have trouble waiting in line, etc
Disorganized, may lose things on a regular basis
May be chronically late, unable to show up on time
Language processing generally OK, but may have difficulty with word retrieval, organizing thoughts into coherent sentences, etc
May have difficulty staying on topic, easily distracted
Has theory of mind, though possibly underdeveloped
May have intense all-encompassing interests, but those interests will likely change from day to day, week to week, month to month, etc
Generally very open to change, to the degree that they may appear to live in a state of chaos
May have difficulty with activities that tax working memory, such as reading or keeping strings of information in mind
Can do small talk, but may not enjoy it
Honesty is important, but may tell white lies if the situation calls for it
Symptoms are likely to respond to medication, usually stimulants (Adderall, Concerta, etc)
Can exist without hyperactivity symptoms, though some combination of both are common - women frequently have more symptoms of inattention

Both/Similarities
Likely neurological in origin and thought to have a genetic component- will often run in families
Can co-exist in the same person
Struggle with day-to-day living
Can have trouble getting a job or maintaining a job
May be introverted or extroverted, socially motivated or not
May have difficulty with eye contact, AS side more so
May have trouble socially- difficulty making or maintaining friendships or other relationships
May struggle with social anxiety to varying degrees
May have issues with hygiene and bodily maintenance
Can hyperfocus to varying degrees, difficulty with perseveration- may have difficulty switching tasks or picking them up after an interruption
May have been bullied at a young age, likely more severe in the case of autism
Under-diagnosed in females as opposed to males (symptoms may present or be interpreted differently, males may be referred for diagnosis more often, etc)
May be prone to sensory overload in intense environments.
Medication may help with sensory issues for some people- the method of dealing with overload will vary, but will usually range from a combination of panic attacks to meltdowns and shutdowns. Severity will depend on the person. Meltdowns seem to be more common on the AS side.
Struggle with insomnia or other related sleep disorders
Common co-morbid conditions are anxiety, depression, and OCD.
Can have dyslexia or dyscalculia
Can have a variety of stims or stim-like behavior- restless behaviors such as leg tapping are common for ADHDers, while rocking behavior is more common on the autism side. Pacing seems to be common in both. Nervous habits and ones that involve self-injury like nail biting are also common.
May struggle with decision making, but for different reasons
May have proprioceptive dysfunction - may be clumsy, bump into things, etc
May have moderate to severe GI or auto-immune disorders
May be highly creative and imaginative

Edit: Updated!


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Last edited by syrella on 19 Nov 2011, 7:50 pm, edited 6 times in total.

Ganondox
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19 Nov 2011, 5:45 pm

From this I sound more ADHD than Aspies, and that is for several things, but I've been diagnosised with AS and not ADHD. If I was using this list I would diagnosis myself with ADHD, but not AS. Now nothing makes sense anymore.

By saying that people with with ADHD "may be very creative or very imaginative" it appears you are implyIng that people with AS cannot.


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Last edited by Ganondox on 19 Nov 2011, 5:51 pm, edited 1 time in total.

syrella
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19 Nov 2011, 5:50 pm

Ganondox wrote:
From this I sound more ADHD than Aspies, and that is for several things, but I've been diagnosised with AS and not ADHD. Now nothing makes sense anymore.

By saying that people with with ADHD "may be very creative or very imaginative" it appears you are implyIng that people with AS cannot.

Hmm... well, they are really similar in some ways, from what I've seen. But I could also be wrong! So don't go by my list alone. If you received an official diagnosis, that should carry more weight that a list I just came up with. I'm no professional!

And yeah, sorry. I think I need to move that, actually. Gonna change it to both!


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btbnnyr
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19 Nov 2011, 5:54 pm

I don't really understand the both list. It seems to be that many of the items on that list could also apply to people who only have AS and people who only have ADHD.



SyphonFilter
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19 Nov 2011, 5:55 pm

Funny how I scrolled down and focused on the "Both" part.



syrella
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19 Nov 2011, 5:55 pm

btbnnyr wrote:
I don't really understand the both list. It seems to be that many of the items on that list could also apply to people who only have AS and people who only have ADHD.

That's the point. I wanted to come up with similarities between people who have AS and ADHD. I didn't mean to imply that you need to have both conditions in order to have those traits. Does that make sense?

Edit: I just wanted to add that people who are diagnosed with both may very well be kind of "hybrid" of the two or they may need an entirely new list to cover all of the symptoms.


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pensieve
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19 Nov 2011, 6:27 pm

Syrella, it's perfect. I relate to almost everything on the lists, more so in 'both' which I am diagnosed for.

One thing I've noticed is people with ADHD do have significant sensory issues. My theory is they have the same sensory processing ability but don't focus on the details and take in everything at once and have difficulty concentrating. My medication can make me process sensory information at an almost NT level...at times.

It's confusing having both autism and ADHD, even more so having combined ADHD. But you've just got to accept that it's both and not just one or the other. One less problem to think about.

Did you write under 'both' that they may respond well to stimulant medication? Those with autism can be sensitive to medication and on a low dose if they also have ADHD they respond well to stimulant or other types of ADHD medication.


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swbluto
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19 Nov 2011, 6:44 pm

Thanks for the list. I take it the "individual lists"(as opposed to the "both" list) are the lists with the differences listed?

Anyways, looking at this list, it appears I'm closer to the autism spectrum even though I doubt I would be diagnosable. Looking at the kind of language errors I'm making when making this post (I've erased them but they were particularly bad), though, and seeing how quickly I "catched them and resolved them" (not quickly), I'm guessing I'm probably more like a schizophrenic. ;_;



Surfman
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19 Nov 2011, 6:49 pm

thanks for those lists syrella, I will use them for reference



syrella
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19 Nov 2011, 6:57 pm

pensieve wrote:
Syrella, it's perfect. I relate to almost everything on the lists, more so in 'both' which I am diagnosed for.

One thing I've noticed is people with ADHD do have significant sensory issues. My theory is they have the same sensory processing ability but don't focus on the details and take in everything at once and have difficulty concentrating. My medication can make me process sensory information at an almost NT level...at times.

It's confusing having both autism and ADHD, even more so having combined ADHD. But you've just got to accept that it's both and not just one or the other. One less problem to think about.

Did you write under 'both' that they may respond well to stimulant medication? Those with autism can be sensitive to medication and on a low dose if they also have ADHD they respond well to stimulant or other types of ADHD medication.

Yes, that makes sense to me. Thanks for the input! I'll update the list a bit with your suggestions in mind. :D


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SyphonFilter
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19 Nov 2011, 6:58 pm

pensieve wrote:
Syrella, it's perfect. I relate to almost everything on the lists, more so in 'both' which I am diagnosed for.

One thing I've noticed is people with ADHD do have significant sensory issues. My theory is they have the same sensory processing ability but don't focus on the details and take in everything at once and have difficulty concentrating. My medication can make me process sensory information at an almost NT level...at times.

It's confusing having both autism and ADHD, even more so having combined ADHD. But you've just got to accept that it's both and not just one or the other. One less problem to think about.

Did you write under 'both' that they may respond well to stimulant medication? Those with autism can be sensitive to medication and on a low dose if they also have ADHD they respond well to stimulant or other types of ADHD medication.
Yeah, my sensory issues are much less of a problem when the ADHD meds are working.



syrella
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19 Nov 2011, 7:13 pm

swbluto wrote:
Thanks for the list. I take it the "individual lists"(as opposed to the "both" list) are the lists with the differences listed?

Anyways, looking at this list, it appears I'm closer to the autism spectrum even though I doubt I would be diagnosable. Looking at the kind of language errors I'm making when making this post (I've erased them but they were particularly bad), though, and seeing how quickly I "catched them and resolved them" (not quickly), I'm guessing I'm probably more like a schizophrenic. ;_;

No problem! And yes, that was my intent. There may be some overlap between the two, though.


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syrella
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19 Nov 2011, 7:14 pm

SyphonFilter wrote:
pensieve wrote:
Syrella, it's perfect. I relate to almost everything on the lists, more so in 'both' which I am diagnosed for.

One thing I've noticed is people with ADHD do have significant sensory issues. My theory is they have the same sensory processing ability but don't focus on the details and take in everything at once and have difficulty concentrating. My medication can make me process sensory information at an almost NT level...at times.

It's confusing having both autism and ADHD, even more so having combined ADHD. But you've just got to accept that it's both and not just one or the other. One less problem to think about.

Did you write under 'both' that they may respond well to stimulant medication? Those with autism can be sensitive to medication and on a low dose if they also have ADHD they respond well to stimulant or other types of ADHD medication.
Yeah, my sensory issues are much less of a problem when the ADHD meds are working.

Duly noted and updated. Thanks for your input! :D


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Ganondox
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19 Nov 2011, 7:16 pm

syrella wrote:
Ganondox wrote:
From this I sound more ADHD than Aspies, and that is for several things, but I've been diagnosised with AS and not ADHD. Now nothing makes sense anymore.

By saying that people with with ADHD "may be very creative or very imaginative" it appears you are implyIng that people with AS cannot.

Hmm... well, they are really similar in some ways, from what I've seen. But I could also be wrong! So don't go by my list alone. If you received an official diagnosis, that should carry more weight that a list I just came up with. I'm no professional!

And yeah, sorry. I think I need to move that, actually. Gonna change it to both!


But that would mean I know and understand nothing about myself, or my life has just been one big painful lie, or I dunno what. I'm so confused! Either way I'm in agony. I don't know anything anymore! I dunno, I dunno, I dunno...


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SyphonFilter
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19 Nov 2011, 7:26 pm

I'm impressed with this list, and I'm sure other members will find it useful. syrella, you should continue to update this list as you receive feedback. Maybe this thread should be stickied. Or do we already have too many stickied threads?



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19 Nov 2011, 7:32 pm

ADHD stimming/ fidgeting is more because of impatience and hyperactivity. I have a little dance at street light crossings and when I'm hyper I can't keep my body still. The latter isn't about nervousness.


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