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

for Children-Second Edition, a standard assessment specifically designed to identify the core symptoms of ADHD.

Results revealed that, out of 63 children with ASD in the study, 18 (29%) were rated by their parents as having clinically significant symptoms of ADHD. Importantly, the age range for children in the study (four to eight) represented a younger and narrower sample than has been previously reported in published literature. "We focused on young school-aged children because the earlier we can identify this subset of children, the earlier we can design specialized interventions," says Dr. Landa. "Tailored interventions may improve their outcomes, which tend to be significantly worse than those of peers with autism only."

Researchers also found that early school-age children with co-occurrence of ASD and ADHD were significantly more impaired than children with only ASD on measures of cognitive and social functioning, as well as in the ability to function in everyday situations. They were also more likely to have significant cognitive delays (61 versus 25 percent) and display more severe autism mannerisms, like stereotypic and repetitive behaviors. The study findings suggest that children with the combined presence of ADHD and ASD may need different treatment methods or intensities than those with ASD only in order to achieve better outcomes.

Dr. Landa and her team recognize that this research supports the need for future prospective, longitudinal studies of attention, social, communication and cognitive functioning from the time that the first red flags of ASD are identified. Such research will lead to important insights about the relative timing of onset and stability of disruption to attention mechanisms and barriers to successful functioning in children with co-occurring ASD and ADHD.


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Contact: Cynthia Chen
cchen@spectrumscience.com
202-955-6222
Kennedy Krieger Institute
Source:Eurekalert

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