ADHD vs AS Traits, Similarities & Differences

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07 Dec 2011, 1:29 am

pensieve wrote:
I just love it that there's an thread just like this on an ADHD forum too.

Sorry, random. You may continue.



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24 May 2012, 6:44 pm

swbluto wrote:
pensieve wrote:
I just love it that there's an thread just like this on an ADHD forum too.

Sorry, random. You may continue.


Very late response, but...
Here! It was part of the inspiration for this thread :)

Also, I wanted to add that I'm about halfway through the Gifted Minds book. It's been very intersting to me thus far. When I am finished, I may revamp the list a little.

I don't suffer from insanity. I enjoy every minute of it.


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07 Oct 2013, 10:39 am

syrella wrote:
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 (prone to side effects)

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) (I don't know)
Can exist without hyperactivity symptoms, though some combination of both are common - women frequently have more symptoms of inattention

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 (a little)
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 (A LOT)
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!

I bold those parts that fit to me, because I got rediagnosed from HFA to ADHD with autistic tendencies resently and I wanted to check in how for it fits!? :?

"I'm astounded by people who want to 'know' the universe when it's hard enough to find your way around Chinatown." - Woody Allen


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05 Jul 2015, 2:26 am

I know this is a very old thread but I wanted to post a thank you for those who participated in the discussion. It has been very helpful to me in trying to make sense of my self.

For some time I have been convinced that I'm on the ASD but did not seek a full round of testing other than just my counselor's assessment.

More recently though, after taking stimulant medicine for weight loss (phentermine - prescribed by my doctor), I noticed tremendous positive mental health benefits, including increased focus and productivity, better ability to stay organized and deal with executive function issues and better moods. Based on this my counselor thought I might have ADD and recommended I talk to my doctor about it. Since I was needing to come off of the phentermine (it is only approved for short-term use), my doctor switched me to vyvance (as I understand it, it is related to adderal) and have already noticed some positive changes, which would seem to point in the ADD direction as being the DX that is a better fit.

I still think I have many ASD traits (based on the lists originally posted) but I think most of my mental quirkyness is better described by ADD. Still though there seems to be an awful lot of overlap and it is helpful to see that I'm not the only person to have wondered about this.

- James


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05 Jul 2015, 3:44 pm

I feel like I have ADHD, as whenever I've read about ADHD symptoms I feel it describes me a lot more accurately than ASDs do. I know some traits of ASD and ADHD can overlap, but I still feel more ADHD-y than ASD-y.

-I can instinctively read and recognize body language and other non-verbal social things, without actually having to teach myself or significantly be taught by anyone else, these things are just things I picked up as I was growing up, like typically developing children do.

-I had trouble paying attention through school, my mind would wonder off when the teacher was talking to the class, and I struggled a great deal at my work due to attention problems. Doing creative work like writing a story about whatever we wanted or drawing or colouring WAS something I loved, because I had a very creative mind (still do now). I wasn't superior at creative work than the other kids, but it was something I could actually complete without many problems.

-My social problems have always been caused by being too hyper which was ''annoying'' to other children, and not paying attention or listening, and even though I knew when a child didn't want to play with me by their body language, I still stuck by them anyway, either to avoid being on my own, or sometimes just to annoy them.
As I've gotten older my social problems are more caused by typical social anxiety.

-I've always been able to know how to lie, either to avoid upsetting people or getting into trouble. Even when I was as young as 5 I remember lying, and not being ''extremely naive''. I have never been 100% honest or 100% blunt.

-I do understand a lot of the social cues that most Aspies do not understand. Most Aspies don't understand the concept of lying, and seem to think that lying is wrong and that everybody should be honest and that there's nothing wrong with being honest even if the truth upsets someone. I cannot relate to that at all. I understand why humans lie about certain things (white lies are vital sometimes), and I understand why people use other social things as well.

-I don't know if this is to do with ADHD or ASD or neither, but as a child I had a mood problem. I used to complain a LOT, instead of just enjoying myself. I was cheerful and happy some of the time, but I had a lot of moments where I was very sulky and miserable and acted like a spoiled brat and just whined and whinged about anything I could think of.

-I've always been able to express my feelings verbally. Even when having temper tantrums as a child, it wasn't like an Autistic meltdown mode thing where I wouldn't speak or didn't want anyone to talk to me or comfort me. In fact all I wanted was attention and affection when I was having a temper tantrum, and of course, whatever I wanted but couldn't have, hence the temper tantrum.

-I was very hard work, meaning a difficult child. I was hyperactive, sometimes moody, often loud and annoying. I would jump up the kerbside or steps, run instead of walk, leap about on furniture, climb on anything I could, and was just always on the go. I would never sit quietly and focus on a special interest. In fact I never even had a special interest as a child. My toys were always scattered, I would switch from playing with one thing to another, and, like I said earlier, was always on the go.

-I was a shy child, but at the same time I was very sociable with my family and when my brother had his friends over. I was good with engaging in pretend play with the other kids in the neighbourhood, whatever the game was.
But when my grandmother sometimes came round for tea, I would go into show-off mode, which meant I was EXTREMELY hyper. I wouldn't stop jumping and prancing about, and sometimes my mum had to calm me down by putting me in the bath. I usually calmed down in the bath because I loved playing in the water.

-I always craved attention as a child too. I didn't like school much, and I suffered social anxiety at school which was why I didn't want attention from the whole class (although when we done group work I went into show-off mode and tried to be the center of attention of the group. I made the boys laugh but the girls got annoyed with me). But at home I would do things like hide, so that people will go ''where's Jo?'' and then some and look for me. I usually done this when I was in a sulk about something, so that I can be searched for and found, and then get fussed over and felt sorry for. It didn't work much though. People got used to my game, and just ignored me. That enraged me.

Aged 30
On antidepressants
Diagnosed with AS, ADHD and anxiety disorder

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06 Jul 2015, 4:20 pm

There is some overlap between the ASD and ADHD diagnoses. Also, ASD and ADHD are commonly found in the same family, which would suggest that similar genetics are involved.

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08 May 2019, 10:47 am

I think I could have both AS and ADHD because I was diagnosed ADHD, but I suffer motor development delay and I can't understand other people emotion in the social situation. I have mastered IT/computer things since I was in elementary school. However, I suffer academic problem. What do you think? Could I have both AS and ADHD?

Tufted Titmouse
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13 Sep 2020, 1:54 am

nominalist wrote:
There is some overlap between the ASD and ADHD diagnoses. Also, ASD and ADHD are commonly found in the same family, which would suggest that similar genetics are involved.

I think our science is still in progress. But, I suspect it is heading in the direction that many genes (& copies & mutations) are involved in both, and many may turn out to be shared, depending upon your unique manifestations of your ASD and/or ADD/ADHD brain. I'd easily wager it'll include genetics & epigenetics(*): ... 121153.htm ... HD2017.pdf
(*) ... -symptoms/

(*)BTW, epigenetic tags can result from situational stresses--good and bad--, too. These can occur in our lives, AND they can have happened to parents OR even distant grandparents (especially as a fetus, at pregnancy, or at puberty).

I definitely see differences (& similarities) within my families: grandparents, parents, siblings, in-laws & neices & nephews--and my wife & I and our different kids. Sheesh: the coincidences and groupings of similarities and differences of emotional dysregulation, social astuteness vs awkwardness, impulsivity vs self-control, rigidity vs [opposite of rigidity?], and the variety of sensory issues... I see different veins & strengths of one or both run through almost my relations--especially as I learn about and share my and my families' diagnoses.

That said, I am learning a lot about the techniques (incl. med.s & therapy) to manage ADHD (see my signature), but I am still struggling to identify similar resources for my (strongly suspected as partially-ASD related) social / relationship root issues.

I really look forward to science, medicine, and especially coaching & therapy--& eventually broader public knowledge-- developing in my lifetime--or maybe my kids'--on what I suspect are the different dimensions to the spectra of ND individuals. :heart: :wink: :jester: :P :? 8O 8) :nerdy: :mrgreen: :?: :idea: :!: :ninja: :roll: :D :heart:

"Engineer type" w/ ADHD (AQ:35-40, SQ:80, EQ:11-18, FQ:24, Aspie Quiz: ND 103/200, NT 100/200)
-Fan of Dr. Russel Barkley lectures and also of "How to ADHD" toolbox tips on You Tube. (I would welcome similar resources on understanding & managing HF-ASD/Aspergers' issues--especially regarding social, relationship, & empathy.)