How are ADHD (Attention Deficit Disorder with or without Hyperactivity) and Asperger's Syndrome similar? Are they two totally different entities or do they share similarities that can confuse the initial diagnosis?
As we will see, although ADHD and Asperger's Syndrome are two different and independent disorders, they share some symptoms to such an extent that sometimes the initial diagnosis of ADHD is finally diagnosed as Asperger's Syndrome.
Both disorders present important deficits in the areas of: communication, social skills, attention and self-control during the first years of childhood. Difficulties that cause dysfunctional social behaviors that cause them and their families problems in many life situations.
However, the problems they present in each of these large areas are due to different causes or motives. A systematic and careful observation of the symptoms will allow us to make a good differential diagnosis. The older the child, the easier it is to observe the differences.
1. Communication deficits
Although in both cases we found deficits in communication and a limited ability to hold conversations, the causes, in one disorder or another, are very different.
While the child with ADHD has problems understanding what others are saying due to inattention and constant interruptions due to lack of impulse control, the child with Asperger Syndrome's problem of understanding has its origin in the inability to understand language. Difficulty that is especially aggravated when metaphors, ironies, sarcasm or jokes are used. They do not understand double meanings, their understanding of language is literal.
2. Social interaction problems: poor social skills
In both disorders, we found great difficulty in relating to others due to deficits in social skills and lack of empathy.
Thus, while in the case of children with ADHD they are rejected by their peers because they tend to annoy them or skip the rules due to their impulsivity, the child with Asperger's isolates himself due to lack of interest and because of his difficulty in understanding the rules when he understands them when foot of the letter.
3. Attention Deficit
Both are easily distracted and seem not to listen or listen when spoken to.
The difference is that while the child with ADHD is unable to maintain attention and concentrate (since it is easily dispersed due to its difficulty in filtering stimuli), in the case of the child with Asperger's Syndrome his inattention is due to loss of interest. If something interests them they are able to concentrate perfectly.
4. Self-control problems and hyperkinetic behavior
In both cases we find motor and emotional self-control problems. These are children who are constantly moving, clumsy and uncoordinated, with a low tolerance for frustration.
In Asperger syndrome we observe a tendency to balance, perform repetitive movements or walk while concentrating that can be confused with the need to move felt by the child with ADHD, who cannot stop moving hands and feet or get up from his seat in situations that require you to remain seated.
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