Examining Autistic Traits in Children with ADHD: Does the Autism Spectrum Extend to ADHD?
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We examined to what extent increased parent reports of autistic traits in some children with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) are the result of ADHD-related symptoms or qualitatively similar to the core characteristics of autism spectrum disorders (ASD). Results confirm the presence of a subgroup of children with ADHD and elevated ratings of core ASD traits (ADHD+) not accounted for by ADHD or behavioral symptoms. Further, analyses revealed greater oppositional behaviors, but not greater ADHD severity or anxiety, in the ADHD+ subgroup compared to those with ADHD only. These results highlight the importance of specifically examining autistic traits in children with ADHD for better characterization in studies of the underlying physiopathology and treatment.