Association between severity of behavioral phenotype and comorbid attention deficit hyperactivity disorder symptoms in children with autism spectrum disorders

Patricia A. Rao, Rebecca J. Landa

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Autism spectrum disorder and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder are neurodevelopmental disorders that cannot be codiagnosed under existing diagnostic guidelines (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of the American Psychiatric Association, 4th ed., text rev.). However, reports are emerging that attention deficit hyperactivity disorder is sometimes comorbid with autism spectrum disorder. In the current study, we examined rates of parent-reported clinically significant symptoms of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder in school-aged children (4-8 years) with autism spectrum disorder, most of whom were first enrolled in our research protocols as toddlers. Results revealed that children with autism spectrum disorder and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder had lower cognitive functioning, more severe social impairment, and greater delays in adaptive functioning than children with autism spectrum disorder only. Implications for clinical practice include the need to assess for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder symptoms at an early age in children diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder. Research is needed to determine efficacious interventions for young children with autism spectrum disorder with comorbid attention deficit hyperactivity disorder to optimize outcomes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)272-280
Number of pages9
JournalAutism
Volume18
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Apr 2014

Keywords

  • attention deficit hyperactivity disorder
  • autism
  • comorbidity
  • symptom severity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Developmental and Educational Psychology

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