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Nearly one-third of children with autism also have ADHD
Date:6/5/2013

BALTIMORE, Md. (June 5, 2013) In a study of the co-occurrence of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and autism spectrum disorder (ASD) in early school-age children (four to eight years old), researchers at the Kennedy Krieger Institute found that nearly one-third of children with ASD also have clinically significant ADHD symptoms. Published in Autism: The International Journal and Practice (Epub ahead of print), the study also found that children with both ASD and ADHD are significantly more impaired on measures of cognitive, social and adaptive functioning compared to children with ASD only.

Distinct from existing research, the current study offers novel insights because most of the children entered the study as infants or toddlers, well before ADHD is typically diagnosed. Previous studies on the co-occurrence of ASD and ADHD are based on patients seeking care from clinics, making them biased towards having more multi-faceted or severe impairments. By recruiting patients as infants or toddlers, the likelihood of bias in the current study is significantly reduced.

"We are increasingly seeing that these two disorders co-occur and a greater understanding of how they relate to each other could ultimately improve outcomes and quality of life for this subset of children," says Dr. Rebecca Landa, senior study author and director of the Center for Autism and Related Disorders at Kennedy Krieger. "The recent change to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5) to remove the prohibition of a dual diagnosis of autism and ADHD is an important step forward."

Participants in this prospective, longitudinal child development study included 162 children. Researchers divided the children into ASD and Non-ASD groups. The groups were further categorized by ADHD classification according to parent-reported symptoms of ADHD on the Hyperactivity and Attention Problems subscales of the Behavioral Assessment System
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Contact: Cynthia Chen
cchen@spectrumscience.com
202-955-6222
Kennedy Krieger Institute
Source:Eurekalert

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