Treatment for co-occurring attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder and autism spectrum disorder.
Interest in the co-occurrence of attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and autism spectrum disorder (ASD) has grown in the last decade. Research on clinical populations supports the frequent co-occurrence of ADHD traits (e.g., hyperactivity) in individuals with ASD and ASD traits (e.g., social communication deficits) in individuals with ADHD. Similar trends in co-occurring traits have been observed in population-based samples, as well as family and genetic studies of affected individuals. Despite increased interest in co-occurring ADHD and ASD, relatively little research has been devoted to treatment considerations. The vast majority of intervention research has examined pharmacological treatment using traditional ADHD medications. Relatively few psychosocial interventions have directly addressed co-occurring symptoms. Treatment development will benefit from enhanced understanding of the phenomenon of co-occurring ADHD and ASD. Key topics for future research include examining developmental trajectories of co-occurring disorders, comorbid psychiatric conditions, deficits in social skills, and the nature of executive functioning impairment in individuals with co-occurring ADHD and ASD. In the current review, research in these areas is reviewed along with recommendation for future study. Given that clinicians are routinely observing and treating individuals with co-occurring symptoms, further research will yield needed information to inform intervention development and maximize benefits for affected individuals.
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