Relative Frequency of Psychiatric, Neurodevelopmental, and Somatic Symptoms as Reported by Mothers of Children with Autism Compared with ADHD and Typical Samples
Mayes SD, Calhoun SL, Baweja R, Waschbusch DA.
J Autism Dev Disord. 2020 Sep 19.
Commentary* by Dr. Margaret Weiss: Even when symptoms of ASD or ADHD do not meet threshold criteria for diagnosis, the clinical reality is that ADHD children are likely to have clinical impairment from one or another symptoms usually associated with ASD, and ASD children will typically have some difficulty with attention and/or behavior.
No study has analyzed the relative occurrence of a broad range of symptoms reported by mothers of children with autism, ADHD-Combined, and ADHD-Inattentive and typical controls. Mothers rated 1436 children with autism, 1056 with ADHD without autism, and 186 controls, 2-17 years, on 41 internalizing, externalizing, neurodevelopmental, and somatic problems. Most children with autism had symptoms of ADHD, oppositional defiant disorder, disruptive mood dysregulation disorder, and expressive language disorder and almost half had dysgraphia and receptive language disorder. Symptom overlap between autism and ADHD-Combined was high. Clinicians specializing in autism and ADHD must have expertise in evaluating and treating these comorbidities identified as most problematic by mothers in order to relieve family concerns and develop treatment plans relevant to families.
* Abstracts are selected for their clinical relevance by Dr. Margaret Weiss, Director of Clinical Research, Child Psychiatry, Cambridge Health Alliance, Harvard University. Her commentary reflects her own opinion. It is not approved or necessarily representative of the CADDRA board.