ADHD vs AS Traits, Similarities & Differences

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Verdandi
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03 Dec 2011, 7:29 am

Mummy_of_Peanut wrote:
I've been reading about giftedness too. It seems it can be hard to tell if someone is gifted/NT or has Aspergers or ADHD or is both gifted and has one or other of them. I'm trying to get my head round the whole thing. It seems that I come into the category of giftedness (I went to school a year early as I was identified as gifted), but I suspect either ADHD or Aspergers too. ADHD sounds closer to me, but I definitely do hyperfocus. However, giftedness can also present like these as well, so maybe it's only that. Gifted people can have the sensory issues too, so I've read, so it really isn't easy to distinguish the 3. I'm going round in circles thinking about this.


I have all three, and I went through a similar process last year. I was frustrated because a lot of the material on giftedness went into how it could present as similar to autism and ADHD, and then there was the whole "excitables" thing, where something that's impairing and even debilitating for autistic people and sometimes people with ADHD, becomes a positive for a gifted person, somehow.

The thing is, all other things considered, giftedness does not really present with impairments, and the other two conditions do.

Edit to add: Sensory processing issues are fairly common in ADHD, but less common than with autism.



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03 Dec 2011, 1:27 pm

Verdandi wrote:
swbluto wrote:
Dr. Russell Barkley comes to clarify that people with ADHD don't "hyperfocus", a persistent myth among ADHD advocates, they have the seriously disabling trait known as "perseveration". 'Hyperfocusing goes with autism, Perseveration goes with ADHD' were his infallible words.


Are you being sarcastic? Because he's saying that primarily because of his thrust that ADHD is always negative and never positive, ever, ever, ever. "Perseveration" is perceived as much more negative than "hyperfocus," which sounds like a superpower. ;)

Since hyperfocus is simply a label people who have ADHD use to describe a particular state of mind that frequently happens with them, it's rather pointless to argue it should be called something else just for the sake of making it sound worse. Also, given that there seems to be little or no research into hyperfocus, I doubt anyone can make authoritative and credible "scientific" statements as to what it's supposed to be.

I do think that perseveration often happens in tandem with hyperfocus, but I don't think that hyperfocus is necessarily always perseveration, nor is it always doing something other than what you need to do (as I've hyperfocused on paying work before...which was also part of my special interest).

You were being sarcastic, right?


Well, I did use exaggerating words for emphasis, so you could kind of say I was being sarcastic though every bit of what I said that he said was true.

Anyway, hyperfocusing is an ability that I would believe a significant percentage of the population would have. I believe this "hyperfocusing" is also called "the flow" in other, less technical circles. If the literature on "the flow" is correct, it appears that people with a greater ability to concentrate (Such as higher IQ folk or people with a higher working memory or whatever) would have a greater tendency to enter this state in non-physical-labor tasks, so I personally think it's possible to have this "ability" while also incidentally having ADHD, but it's definitely not exclusive to it (Hyperfocusing is probably as common or less common in ADHD than the normal population). Whereas perservation is far more common in ADHD than the normal population.



Verdandi
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03 Dec 2011, 1:38 pm

swbluto wrote:
Well, I did use exaggerating words for emphasis, so you could kind of say I was being sarcastic though every bit of what I said that he said was true.


I know he said it. I first saw that video a year and a half ago. I wasn't talking about what you said he said but your exaggerated assertions that he was correct.

Quote:
Anyway, hyperfocusing is an ability that I would believe a significant percentage of the population would have. I believe this "hyperfocusing" is also called "the flow" in other, less technical circles. If the literature on "the flow" is correct, it appears that people with a greater ability to concentrate (Such as higher IQ folk or people with a higher working memory or whatever) would have a greater tendency to enter this state in non-physical-labor tasks, so I personally think it's possible to have this "ability" while also incidentally having ADHD, but it's definitely not exclusive to it (Hyperfocusing is probably as common or less common in ADHD than the normal population). Whereas perservation is far more common in ADHD than the normal population.


I don't think it's the flow. It's... attention dysregulation. People think of ADHD as a lack of attention span, but it's more like a lack of attention control. Hyperfocus is the other extreme - too much attention on one thing, and not a thought to switching it unless interrupted or it ends. It is probably very much like the "flow" but it is not necessarily a gift or a superpower.

Enough people report it, though, that I think it's pretty typical with ADHD and autism, and possibly more common than in the general population.



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03 Dec 2011, 4:28 pm

For me, some negatives of hyperfocus:

Difficulty switching attention
Spacing out at the slightest sensory stimuli to focus on
Spacing out at the slightest thought to focus on
Getting onto the wrong track for protracted periods of time, usually 5-7 days, up to 2-3 weeks

For me, some positives of hyperfocus:
Being very productive and creative when on the left or right track
Feeling very happy while hyperfocusing on the left, right, or wrong track

For me, the positives outweigh the negatives by three elephants, two mastodons, and one woolly mammoth. I feel like I have total control of my mind when I am hyperfocusing, because I block out the awareness of all "useless" sensations and movements, and there is nothing for me to process except what I am hyperfocusing on. I don't get mentally stuck on one thing. Instead, my mind withdraws into itself and becomes more flexible than if it had to interact with the outside world. It basically replicates the world inside itself and plays with it there, where everything is smooth and flexible, and there are no annoying noises/lights/people, etc. Most of its problems appear when it has to interact with the outside and disappear when it is left alone to be inside. Hyperfocus is like a runaway train, the "Autistic Inertia Unlimited", and I love driving it.



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03 Dec 2011, 6:25 pm

btbnnyr wrote:
For me, some negatives of hyperfocus:

Difficulty switching attention
Spacing out at the slightest sensory stimuli to focus on
Spacing out at the slightest thought to focus on
Getting onto the wrong track for protracted periods of time, usually 5-7 days, up to 2-3 weeks

For me, some positives of hyperfocus:
Being very productive and creative when on the left or right track
Feeling very happy while hyperfocusing on the left, right, or wrong track

For me, the positives outweigh the negatives by three elephants, two mastodons, and one woolly mammoth. I feel like I have total control of my mind when I am hyperfocusing, because I block out the awareness of all "useless" sensations and movements, and there is nothing for me to process except what I am hyperfocusing on. I don't get mentally stuck on one thing. Instead, my mind withdraws into itself and becomes more flexible than if it had to interact with the outside world. It basically replicates the world inside itself and plays with it there, where everything is smooth and flexible, and there are no annoying noises/lights/people, etc. Most of its problems appear when it has to interact with the outside and disappear when it is left alone to be inside. Hyperfocus is like a runaway train, the "Autistic Inertia Unlimited", and I love driving it.


So this is what hyperfocusing is. Yeah, describes me a lot when I'm not in a hyper-distractable mood, I can get lost within my own thoughts for hours.


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03 Dec 2011, 6:28 pm

Verdandi wrote:
swbluto wrote:
Well, I did use exaggerating words for emphasis, so you could kind of say I was being sarcastic though every bit of what I said that he said was true.


I know he said it. I first saw that video a year and a half ago. I wasn't talking about what you said he said but your exaggerated assertions that he was correct.

Quote:
Anyway, hyperfocusing is an ability that I would believe a significant percentage of the population would have. I believe this "hyperfocusing" is also called "the flow" in other, less technical circles. If the literature on "the flow" is correct, it appears that people with a greater ability to concentrate (Such as higher IQ folk or people with a higher working memory or whatever) would have a greater tendency to enter this state in non-physical-labor tasks, so I personally think it's possible to have this "ability" while also incidentally having ADHD, but it's definitely not exclusive to it (Hyperfocusing is probably as common or less common in ADHD than the normal population). Whereas perservation is far more common in ADHD than the normal population.


I don't think it's the flow. It's... attention dysregulation. People think of ADHD as a lack of attention span, but it's more like a lack of attention control. Hyperfocus is the other extreme - too much attention on one thing, and not a thought to switching it unless interrupted or it ends. It is probably very much like the "flow" but it is not necessarily a gift or a superpower.

Enough people report it, though, that I think it's pretty typical with ADHD and autism, and possibly more common than in the general population.

Honestly, the difference between perseveration and hyperfocus confuses me. What I've heard other people with ADHD talk about, though, is that they get trapped into one activity for awhile and have trouble switching. For me, that means entering a state of high focus where I tune out the rest of the world. I think it could be compared with being in "the zone" or "the flow", but I'm not sure. Is there something that I'm missing in my understanding? :?


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syrella
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03 Dec 2011, 6:33 pm

Ganondox wrote:
btbnnyr wrote:
For me, some negatives of hyperfocus:

Difficulty switching attention
Spacing out at the slightest sensory stimuli to focus on
Spacing out at the slightest thought to focus on
Getting onto the wrong track for protracted periods of time, usually 5-7 days, up to 2-3 weeks

For me, some positives of hyperfocus:
Being very productive and creative when on the left or right track
Feeling very happy while hyperfocusing on the left, right, or wrong track

For me, the positives outweigh the negatives by three elephants, two mastodons, and one woolly mammoth. I feel like I have total control of my mind when I am hyperfocusing, because I block out the awareness of all "useless" sensations and movements, and there is nothing for me to process except what I am hyperfocusing on. I don't get mentally stuck on one thing. Instead, my mind withdraws into itself and becomes more flexible than if it had to interact with the outside world. It basically replicates the world inside itself and plays with it there, where everything is smooth and flexible, and there are no annoying noises/lights/people, etc. Most of its problems appear when it has to interact with the outside and disappear when it is left alone to be inside. Hyperfocus is like a runaway train, the "Autistic Inertia Unlimited", and I love driving it.


So this is what hyperfocusing is. Yeah, describes me a lot when I'm not in a hyper-distractable mood, I can get lost within my own thoughts for hours.

It sounds familiar to me, too. Personally, I like it and would consider it to be a strength of mine. I can work for hours and get a lot accomplished.

That said, it does cause some problems. If I'm stuck on one track, it means other things aren't gonna get done. For example, doing daily chores, remembering to eat, make it to appointments etc. I've learned the hard way that there are certain activities that I simply shouldn't start if I don't have hours and hours of time to devote to them.


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03 Dec 2011, 6:57 pm

syrella wrote:
Honestly, the difference between perseveration and hyperfocus confuses me. What I've heard other people with ADHD talk about, though, is that they get trapped into one activity for awhile and have trouble switching. For me, that means entering a state of high focus where I tune out the rest of the world. I think it could be compared with being in "the zone" or "the flow", but I'm not sure. Is there something that I'm missing in my understanding? :?



It is a "Superpower" if it is needed or can be directed for a certain type of secular work. The Kryptonite: Put me working at Ronald McDonald's and the loony bin wouldn't be that far off for me. :lol:

It has an Achilles heel.



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03 Dec 2011, 7:10 pm

Ever since I heard of "perseveration", I have thought of it as simply repetition, or a vague verbal label for all kinds of repetitive behaviors that an autistic person may exhibit. Personally, it's hard for me to do any simple thing, e.g. hand gesture, spoken phrase, thought that I keep to myself, just once. I have to do it several times in a row, if I'm going to do it at all. When speaking, I often repeat the same phrase five times in a row. When gesturing, I make the same gesture more times in a row. When thinking, I replay the same movie several times in a row. Everything comes in multiples for me.

For things that don't come from me, I like them in sets, series, collections.

I don't know if this is perseveration more common to autistic people, or if this kind of perseveration is also common for people with ADHD, or if when talking about ADHD, the perseveration that I think of as repetition has gotten mixed up with the hyperfocus that I think of as extreme concentration that may be about one subject but is not nearly as repetitive as perseveration.



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03 Dec 2011, 7:22 pm

Hmmmmmmm, now that I think about it, the best kind of conversation I could have with anyone is one in which I talked my normal perseverative way and the other person did too. Then, I could process and understand all of what they were saying. The words that I could missed the first time around could be picked up the second time around and the words that I missed the second time around could be picked up the third time around.



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03 Dec 2011, 7:54 pm

One thing I was wondering was, why don't aspies/auties reciprocate in socially approved ways?

I think ADHD people may not reciprocate because they got too distracted by something to remember to respond.


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03 Dec 2011, 8:17 pm

Moog wrote:
One thing I was wondering was, why don't aspies/auties reciprocate in socially approved ways?

I think ADHD people may not reciprocate because they got too distracted by something to remember to respond.


I don't know that some specific social act requires some other specific social act in reciprocation. My guess is that other people feel something in response to something else, like an emotional signal that tells them to do something elselse, and these mysterious socially-oriented feelings can also push them towards the socially approved thing to do. I don't have any of these signals or impulses to aide me in social settings, so I can't recognize that there is something to reciprocate (no signal), and if I do recognize, I don't know how to reciprocate (no knowledge), and if I do know, I can't execute the reciprocation correctly (no impulse). These are the social fails that I can come up with right now. I'm not trying to be vague with "some" and "something". I really don't know what to put in their places.



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03 Dec 2011, 8:32 pm

btbnnyr wrote:
Moog wrote:
One thing I was wondering was, why don't aspies/auties reciprocate in socially approved ways?

I think ADHD people may not reciprocate because they got too distracted by something to remember to respond.


I don't know that some specific social act requires some other specific social act in reciprocation. My guess is that other people feel something in response to something else, like an emotional signal that tells them to do something elselse, and these mysterious socially-oriented feelings can also push them towards the socially approved thing to do. I don't have any of these signals or impulses to aide me in social settings, so I can't recognize that there is something to reciprocate (no signal), and if I do recognize, I don't know how to reciprocate (no knowledge), and if I do know, I can't execute the reciprocation correctly (no impulse). These are the social fails that I can come up with right now. I'm not trying to be vague with "some" and "something". I really don't know what to put in their places.


No, that's a good answer, it sounds very plausible. There's something in the brain not going ding which does go ding for NTs


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03 Dec 2011, 8:56 pm

Moog wrote:
One thing I was wondering was, why don't aspies/auties reciprocate in socially approved ways?

I think ADHD people may not reciprocate because they got too distracted by something to remember to respond.


I often don't reciprocate because I don't know HOW to reciprocate. Unless it's a situation where I've already observed x number of times that other people reciprocate in a specific way and it goes over well. People say things or do things and I just don't have any idea how to respond, or how they might expect me to respond. A lot of times I search within myself for a response or reaction and just draw a blank.



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03 Dec 2011, 9:45 pm

syrella wrote:
Ai_Ling wrote:
Well my sister whos adhd, clearly not aspergers managed to get mis-diagnosed with borderline aspie??? So I figure there must be enough overlap between aspergers and adhd. My sister is well if she IS aspie, is probably the most social aspie you've ever met. She's NEEDS social contact, shes very NT like to the point where shes stuck to her friends. Plus shes never had problems making friends. Not to say shes hasn't had problems with friends. She DOES read body language and she never had problems doing so. When we were little, she'd get pissed at me after family gatherings cause I never "noticed" some subtle thing about something that happened. Later to figure out, I didn't read it. She used to criticize my parents for being to lenient on her in social behavior?? So I figure there MUST be enough overlap between adhd and aspergers if someone like my sister could be misdiagnosed with it.

Sorry, just read your reply.

It's possible that your sister is "borderline Aspie", but I don't really know her personally. Hence, it's hard to say. It could be that she functions mostly okay, but is just a little off in her mannerism. Perhaps that is what her therapist or whoever is picking up?

It could also be like my dad's case. He definitely has ADHD and craves social connections too. He is very extroverted and loves to be around people. That said, he's not very "touchy feel-y" (as my mom puts it.. he's not very sympathetic to the concerns of others) and tends to monologue about his research (even though no one is interested or has much of a clue what he's talking about). In other words, he has some difficulty with theory of mind. Alone, it's probably not diagnosable.

Most of the people I know with ADHD have some "Aspie" traits, so I think the two are connected in some way. I mean, it's all neurological and these labels that psychologists have come up with only measure trends across a group. In reality, no people with ASD's are alike. Everyone's an individual.

I also remember at least one article suggesting that ADHD may actually be somewhere on the autism spectrum. That said, as others will happily point out, you can have ADHD without any of the symptoms of AS, too (and be fine socially). I guess it just depends on the person and their particular combination of genes.


See unless she was one of those girls that was copying peoples behavior very well, camoflaging her aspie like traits very well. From reading posts on here, the people that do that typically get very exhausted. She craves social contact, she cant be without her friends, shes quite extroverted. She has a charm to her in where she can get people to like her. But then shes always been a bit immature, problems with completing work, bahavioral problems, problems with friends. But that all can be explained by adhd. She can read people but it seems like she never had to be taught how to read people. Coming from a mild aspie perspective, I can read people also, but the difference is that I had to work very hard to learn it. For her it seems just as natural as any NT out there.



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04 Dec 2011, 1:06 pm

swbluto wrote:
The book "different minds" differentiates between Aspergers and ADHD among gifted individuals, and provides really good examples of "regular giftedness", "ADHD giftedness" and "Autistic giftedness" and pretty thoroughly compares between the types.

Thanks. It's quite expensive on Amazon, so I'll see if my local library has a copy or can order one from central services.


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