This study aims to evaluate ADHD-like symptoms in children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) based on single-item analysis, as well as the comparison of two ASD subsamples of children with ADHD (ASD+) and without ADHD (ASD-).
Participants are 83 children with ASD. Dimensional and categorical aspects of ADHD are evaluated using a diagnostic symptom checklist according to DSM-IV.
Of the sample, 53% fulfill DSM-IV criteria for ADHD. The comparison of the ASD+ and the ASD- samples reveals differences in age and IQ. Correlations of ADHD and PDD show significant results for symptoms of hyperactivity with impairment in communication and for inattention with stereotyped behavior. Item profiles of ADHD symptoms in the ASD+ sample are similar to those in a pure ADHD sample.
The results of our study reveal a high phenotypical overlap between ASD and ADHD. The two identified subtypes, inattentive-stereotyped and hyperactive-communication impaired, reflect the DSM classification and may theoretically be a sign of two different neurochemical pathways, a dopaminergic and a serotonergic.