top of page

What is AuDHD?

Updated: Apr 23

Recently, more research has shed light on individuals being diagnosed with ADHD and Autism, coining the term AuDHD. Although this is not an official diagnosis, it's a term used to describe individuals who are diagnosed with both ADHD and Autism.

Previously, both diagnoses were never given to one individual; it was either one or the other. These days, we are seeing more individuals diagnosed with both. Whenever I tell individuals about this comorbid diagnosis, I get confused looks. Most ask, "How can that be?"

Individuals with AuDHD may exhibit traits such as difficulties with social communication and interaction, restricted interests, repetitive behaviors (typical of autism), as well as challenges with attention, impulsivity, and hyperactivity (typical of ADHD).

The intersection of autism and ADHD can manifest differently in each person, leading to a wide range of strengths and challenges. Some may excel in certain areas while facing significant hurdles in others. Understanding AuDHD involves recognizing and appreciating this diversity and tailoring support and interventions to address the specific needs of each individual.

How common is it?

While there are differences in statistics, it is thought that there is a 20-70% percent overlap between individuals who are diagnosed. Individuals with ADHD are markedly more prone to also have autism, and conversely, individuals with autism are more likely to have ADHD compared to those without either condition.

Most often, AuDHD can go undetected. Usually when an individual comes in for diagnosis its to either rule out one or the other. However, through intakes, professionals are able to also determine whether additional tests should be administered. For example, if an individual is seeking testing for ADHD, but many symptoms expressed can also be related to Autism, additional testing may be added to rule out the diagnosis, and vice versa.

In addition, individuals who are diagnosed with Autism for example, but feel there are still underlying issues that they are struggling with in their daily functioning, they may also seek out later testing.

More often than not, I have seen individuals come in for testing for Autism after being diagnosed with ADHD as a child, because they feel like there is something more that doesn't explain their symptoms and difficulties functioning day to day.

How is AuADHD diagnosed?

A professional who is highly trained in the use of tests and diagnosis is able to diagnosis. There is no one test that determines whether an individual has AuDHD. However, each should be evaluated separately using specific tools. Additionally, there is no one test or question that would diagnosis ADHD or Autism. Instead, a variety of tools are used.

For example, the ADOS-2, MIGDAS-2, SRS-2, ADI-R are some tools used to diagnosis Autism. The Conners-4, CAARS-2, attention and executive functioning scales are some tools used to diagnosis ADHD. In addition, an IQ test is also administered to understand the individuals intellectual and cognitive functioning.

What to do after diagnosis?

Addressing the treatment needs of individuals with AADHD (Autism and ADHD) presents unique challenges due to the complex interaction between these two conditions. The complex nature of their co-occurrence underscores the importance of personalized approaches tailored to the individual's distinct requirements.

When crafting treatment strategies for AuDHD, it's crucial to recognize the diverse ways in which autism and ADHD manifest in each person. This involves a thorough assessment of their strengths, challenges, and preferences to develop interventions that resonate with their unique profile.

Furthermore, a holistic approach that considers the interconnectedness of symptoms is essential. This may involve combining various therapeutic modalities, such as behavioral interventions, psychoeducation, medication management, and support services, to address the multifaceted needs of individuals with AuDHD effectively.

While there has been more awareness on the coexistence of ADHD and Autism, there is still more research that needs to be done to fully understand individuals who are diagnosed with both.

17 views0 comments


bottom of page