It seems that whenever someone tells you that they or their child have ADHD, there seems to almost always be an "and" which follows. As in, "I have ADHD and Depression" or "My son has ADHD, Bipolar Disorder, and a learning disability. It seems more unusual to just have ADHD and nothing else than it does to have multiple diagnoses including ADHD. And according to Dr. Thomas E. Brown who wrote the book, "Attention Deficit Disorder: The Unfocused Mind in Children and Adults: "A person with ADHD is six times more likely to have another psychiatric or learning disorder than most other people. ADHD usually overlaps with other disorders."
In this article I will identify these other conditions and will provide you with resources here on Health Central as well as from national organizations to help.
ADHD and Autism Spectrum Disorders:
I cannot tell you how many times I have heard a parent say on support group forums or message boards for parents having children with special needs, that their child began with a diagnosis of ADHD and then was given a diagnosis later on of autism or Asperger's Disorder. There is still plenty of debate as to whether an individual can have ADHD and autism at the same time. Author Thomas E. Brown, author of "ADHD Comorbidities: Handbook for ADHD Complications in Children and Adults" believes that you can. Brown cites studies which say that "58% of the individuals diagnosed with autism and 74%-85% of those diagnosed with Asperger's Syndrome tend to meet full diagnostic criteria for ADHD as well." I can tell you without a shadow of a doubt that my son who has been diagnosed with autism does have most if not all the symptoms of ADHD. This is not to say that people with ADHD will have an autism spectrum disorder. Most will not. But it is likely, in my opinion, if you have a child who is on the autism spectrum for them to have some if not all of the symptoms of ADHD.
In addition to having difficulties with paying attention and staying on task, persons on the autism spectrum may also have problems relating to others, communicating or understanding both verbal and non-verbal language, and/or sensory issues making it difficult to process information.
Autism Spectrum Disorder Resources:
ADHD and Learning Disabilities:
ADHD is not considered to be a learning disability but many children and adults who have ADHD will also have learning disabilities. Our Eileen Bailey cites the statistic that as many as 20-30% of children having ADHD will also have some sort of learning disability. In her article about this topic Eileen tells us that the types of learning disabilities commonly associated with ADHD include: Developmental Speech and Language Disorder and Academic Skills Disorders which may affect the child's abilities with respect to reading, writing and mathematical computation.