Neurodiversity includes many conditions like ADHD and Autism, Dyslexia and Dyspraxia. These may occur alone or in all kinds of combinations.
In recent years, researchers have focused on understanding the overlap between ADHD and Autism, leading to the coining of the term “AuDHD” to describe individuals who have both conditions.
ADHD is mainly characterized by inattention, hyperactivity, and impulsivity which differs from Autism (ASD) which main characteristics are related to social interaction, communication, and stereotyped behaviours such as rocking or pacing. Although both are distinct diagnoses, they do overlap in some of their symptoms. Both diagnoses include symptoms like being over or under responsive to stimuli, difficulty in organizing tasks or activities, and not considering consequences of their actions.
That overlap in symptoms may be the reason why both conditions are sometimes confused with one another. Another common scenario is getting diagnosed for only one condition because medical professionals might not even consider a combination of both.
The numbers tell a different story however: With 5-10% of the population having ADHD, about 20-50% of these are autistic as well. Autism is much rarer in about 2-3% of the overall population, of which 40-70% also have ADHD.
That means having one of the conditions makes it much more likely to also have the other one. Therefore it might be helpful to request testing for both conditions if you feel like one diagnose doesn't fully reflect your neurodiverse experience.
More research needs to be done on the overlap of ADHD and ASD but studies have shown that adults with AuDHD may experience more severe symptoms of both disorders compared to those with only one of the conditions.
A deeper understanding of AuDHD would be highly beneficial to better support the affected individuals in their daily lives, like choosing the right treatment options, adapting work environments to their needs, and raise general awareness about this specific neurodiverse experience.