Brief Report: Are ADHD Traits Dissociable from the Autistic Profile? Links Between Cognition and Behaviour

Abstract

Reports of co-morbid symptoms of ADHD in children with ASD have increased. This research sought to identify ADHD-related behaviours in a sample of children with ASD, and their relationship with the ASD triad of impairments and related cognitive impairments. Children with ASD (n = 55) completed a comprehensive cognitive assessment whilst a semi-structured parental interview (3Di) provided information on ASD and ADHD symptoms. Co-morbid presentation of ADHD traits in these participants was associated with reports of more ASD related behaviours. Inhibitory control performance was directly related only to the ADHD symptom of impulsive behaviour. In contrast, while there was a relationship between social difficulties associated with ASD and theory of mind ability, there was no such relationship with behaviours relating to ADHD.

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Fig. 1

Notes

  1. 1.

    All tasks were scored out of 2, with 1 point awarded for predicting the character’s mental state and the second point awarded for justifying why they had made that prediction. The exceptions to this scoring were the diverse desires, diverse beliefs and knowledge access tasks which did not include a justification question and were therefore scored out of 1, and the penny hiding task which was composed of 6 trials in each of which 1 point could be scored if the experimenter could not tell which hand the penny was hidden in.

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Correspondence to Catherine S. Ames.

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Ames, C.S., White, S.J. Brief Report: Are ADHD Traits Dissociable from the Autistic Profile? Links Between Cognition and Behaviour. J Autism Dev Disord 41, 357–363 (2011). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10803-010-1049-0

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Keywords

  • Autism spectrum disorder
  • Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder
  • Social cognition
  • Executive function
  • Theory of mind