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Autism and ADHD (Essay Sample)


This is a four page paper based on a useful article  Autism and ADHD by Stuart L. Kaplan. It discusses how the refusal of the DSM diagnostic committee to allow the diagnosis of ADHD with autism affects the pharmacological treatment of the disorder.

It also looks into the benefits that would result from allowing ADHD treatment in autistic children.

This is a four page paper based on an article on Autism and ADHD by Stuart L. Kaplan. It discusses how the refusal of the DSM diagnostic committee to allow the diagnosis of ADHD with autism affects the pharmacological treatment of the disorder. It also looks into the benefits that would result from allowing ADHD treatment in autistic children. The paper also discusses the implications of this prohibition on special education centers. The paper in APA format and relies on one source.
Running head: AUTISM AND ADHD
Autism and ADHD
Autism and ADHD
Prohibiting the Diagnosis of ADHD in Autism Is Harmful
DSM-5 has projected some revisions in diagnosis of autism by suggesting that Pervasive Development Disorder and Asperger disorder should be eliminated from the diagnosis. This revision has caused a lot of controversy, but this article is concerned with the rejection of the committee to allow children with autism to be diagnosed with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) (Kaplan, 2012). ADHD is considered as part and parcel of a child with autism and a separate diagnosis is not permitted. DSM criteria of diagnosing children with autistic disorders does not list the symptoms of ADHD, but merely states that these might be other additional aspects of autism.
According to the article, most children with autistic disorders have ADHD. However, any pharmacological treatment of ADHD is ignored in children with autism, although it would help them greatly in functioning well at home and in school. Prohibiting the diagnosis of ADHD by the DSM- 5 committee has limited the treatment options offered to autistic children and minimized behavioral improvement in these children.
Article Analysis
According to DSM-5, ADHD is common in children with autistic disorder and does not need any separate diagnosis. However, the listed criteria of diagnosing autism given by the DSM committee can be confusing since it does not list inattention and over activeness as symptoms of autism, though they are common symptoms of ADHD. DSM lists these as regular aspects of autistic disorders, but not clinical symptoms of the disorder. Symptoms of ADHD in an autistic child are ignored, although they should be dealt with by a psychiatrist. According to the article, ADHD treatment in autistic children can be carried out easily and safely, leading to a dramatic improvement in the overall functioning ability of the child (Kaplan, 2012).
Forbidding diagnosis of ADHD by DSM is counterproductive, as it leads to unintentional ignorance of symptoms, which when treated, greatly improves the life of an autistic child. ADHD treatment is not permitted in children with autism and this makes it difficult for care providers giving pharmacological treatment for ADHD to justify their actions to parents or administrators. A well known treatment center prohibited the analysis of the clinical severity of symptoms of ADHD in the children with autistic disorders. The centre did not encourage pharmacological treatment of ADHD symptoms in the autistic children receiving care. They justified this move by saying that most children with autistic disorders exhibited signs of ADHD and this would mean that all children in the centre would have to be treated for ADHD.
Various studies carried out by Dr Susan and colleagues gave a fuller picture of autism symptoms, compared to the ones given by DSM (repetitive behavior, poor development of language and impaired social interactions). According to the studies, out of the 1000 children sampled, 158 diagnosed with ADHD only, had no symptoms of autism. However, 847 children with autism also exhibited symptoms of ADHD. This implies that autistic children have another underlying disorder that is not treated due to lack of diagnosis (Kaplan, 2012).
In another study by Dr Susan and her colleagues, children with autism exhibited symptoms such as loss of temper, quarrelling with adults and defiance to adult rules and requests, which are closely related to Oppositional defiant disorder (ODD). DMS only outlines the symptoms of ODD, but does not point out that it is also an autism related problem. Results from the study showed that 40 percent of children with autistic disorders suffer from ODD. ADHD medication help in treating ODD and thus, it is important that a separate diagnosis is made.
In another study carried out Scahill in 2006, treatment and diagnosis of ADHD was allowed in children suffering from autistic disorders. Guanfacine used in treating ADHD was administered to 25 autistic children who had failed to react to Ritalin. This treatment was given for eight weeks and it led to a significant reduction of hyperactivity in the children. Both parents and teachers reported a reduction in social withdrawal and irritability (Kaplan, 2012). This is a clear indication that ADHD treatment can achieve other benefits since social withdrawal and irritability are not symptoms ADHD, but the treatment led to improvements in the autism related clinical symptoms.
FDA has approved the use of risperidone in treating irritability in autistic children. Risperidone which is an antipsychotic drug causes many harmful side effects in comparison with ADHD medicines that can also treat irritability. Substituting antipsychotic drugs with ADHD medications at the moment is impossible, since they are more effective in treating aggressive behavior. Scahill et al. advocates for more clinical research and analysis before switching from using antipsychotic drugs in treating irritability, to the ADHD medications (Kaplan, 2012).
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