It is easy for a person with high functioning Aspergerâ€™s syndrome to be misdiagnosed as having ADHD, or even never having any formal diagnosis at all.
Asperger Ayndrome (AS) is considered a subset of Pervasive Development Disorder (PPD) or Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). People with AS typically have impairments in:
â€¢ Social interactions
o They typically have problems showing empathy.
o They typically have problems developing friendships.
o They typically donâ€™t seek shared enjoyments.
o They typically have problems with social and emotional â€œreciprocityâ€ (do not have â€œgive and takeâ€ relationships or conversations. Might tend to have extended on sided conversations, explaining something to someone and not realizing the other person does not care about it.)
o Nonverbal behaviors such as facial expressions, eye contact, gestures, and postures.
o People with AS differ from people with Autism because they usually do not withdraw from others, and they often approach others.
â€¢ Restricted and repetitive interests and behaviors
o They tend to focus intense interest in a narrow rage of interests (when compared to other people their age.)
o My move in repetitive ways.
o Stick to strict routines.
â€¢ Speech and Language â€“ although people with AS typically do not have a delay in speech they have specific peculiarities in speech.
o They tend to be verbose (are long winded and use a lot of big words.)
o They tend to have abrupt transitions.
o They tend to have abnormalities in pitch, intonation, rhythm and loudness.
Where as people with ADHD have problems with inattention, hyperactivity-impulsiveness or both. These symptoms may include:
â€¢ Being easily distracted, missing details, forgeting things and frequently switching from one activity to another.
â€¢ Having difficulty maintaining focus on one task.
â€¢ Become bored with a task after only a few minutes, unless doing something enjoyable.
â€¢ Having difficulty focusing attention on organizing and completing a task or learning something new or trouble completing or turning in homework assignments, often losing things (e.g., pencils, toys, assignments) needed to complete tasks or activities.
â€¢ Seems not to listen when spoken to.
â€¢ Daydreams, become easily confused and moves slowly.
â€¢ Have difficulty processing information as quickly and accurately as others.
â€¢ Struggle to follow instructions.
â€¢ Fidgeting and squirm in their seats.
â€¢ Talking nonstop.
â€¢ Dashing around, touching or playing with anything and everything in sight.
â€¢ Have trouble sitting still during dinner, school, and story time.
â€¢ Being constantly in motion.
â€¢ Have difficulty doing quiet tasks or activities.
If you are worried about getting an accurate diagnosis, I would seek a clinical psychologist who has experience with both Aspergerâ€™s syndrome and ADHD. Although Aspergerâ€™s syndrome does tend to run in families, there is not one single gene that causes it. As always, if you are noticing that your childâ€™s behavior is significantly different than other children the same age, then you should have your child evaluated by a medical expert.
Dr. Jeff M.D.