Recognizing Coexisting Conditions

If the child is diagnosed with the coexisting condition first, there is a real danger that the AD/HD symptoms will be attributed to the coexisting condition and thus not treated.

Coexisting conditions include:

  • Dyslexia, Dyspraxia, Dyscalculia, etc.
  • Aspergers Syndrome (AS).
  • High-Functioning Autism.
  • Language Disorder.
  • Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD).
  • Oppositional Defiant Disorder (ODD).

This can happen when a child is diagnosed with Dyslexia. Parents and teachers are more likely to look for Dyslexia solutions for all of the child’s problems. This can be avoided by asking for a multidisciplinary diagnostic procedure at the outset. It is worth bearing in mind that there is a 35-50% chance of a child having both Dyslexia and AD/HD. Parents and teachers should be especially vigilant about this because the symptoms of inattention are said to be also a feature of Dyslexia. However, if the inattention is more than the low-level expected in Dyslexia, this is an indicator that the child could also have AD/HD; there are other indicators which are listed below that can be also taken into account.

It can also happen when the first diagnosis is Asperger’s Syndrome (AS) or high functioning autism. The AS symptoms can be aggravated by the AD/HD and a further assessment for this condition is necessary.

Sometimes, when a child has Asperger’s Syndrome as well as AD/HD the stimulant medication does not bring the desired results. In such cases, it is important that parents explore all the AD/HD medication options available rather than giving up on medication entirely. This requires a lot of patience and is not always easy, but it is ultimately well worth the effort in terms of quality of life.

Anxiety Disorder is another coexisting condition that can mask the AD/HD symptoms. Again, it is worth bearing in mind that it is difficult to treat Anxiety Disorder successfully if the underlying AD/HD is not also treated appropriately.

Some further Indicators of AD/HD are:

  • Child may exhibit other symptoms that are not AD/HD related, but still have an AD/HD profile.
  • Child may be quick-tempered and aggressive.
  • S/he may be excessively irritable.
  • Child may be very bright, yet underachieving.
  • S/he may not be able to relate appropriately to peers
  • S/he may be “out of control” at home.
  • S/he may have a poor relationship with teachers.
  • Child may have personal hygiene issues.
  • S/he may blame others for his/her actions
  • Child may be emotionally cut off from others as well as having some symptoms of AD/HD
  • S/he seems depressed.
  • The child is extremely oppositional.
  • S/he exhibits obsessive-compulsive traits.

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