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Can ADHD Be Mistaken for Autism?

Can ADHD Be Mistaken for Autism?

Can ADHD be mistaken for Autism?

Are some kids dealing with Autism misdiagnosed with ADHD?

Yes, absolutely!  There are overlapping conditions between the two.  Read on to read the full comparison by  The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM5)

How are these two disorders similar?

Many of the symptoms associated with Autism Spectrum Disorder are confused for ADHD, such as difficulty in settling down or focusing on something, ability to pay attention, impulsivity and social awkwardness.  These are the executive functioning skills: time management, organization, self-reflection, emotional regulation, and focus.

Yes, Autism and ADHD can look a lot similar as children with either has difficulty focusing. They have issues communicating; they might struggle with their schoolwork and so on. Although the two conditions share a lot of common symptoms, the two are very different conditions. Autism is a kind of developmental disorder that can impact language skills, social interactions, behavior and learning ability. ADHD affects the way the brain develops and grows. It is also possible at times that someone on the Autism spectrum is dealing with both, which would be called a comorbid condition.

So, how can we differentiate between the two conditions?

Look at the checklists below and compare and observe the behavior. All those dealing with autism struggle to focus on things that they dislike. For instance, if they don’t like to study, they cannot focus on reading for comprehension.  When they asked to read, they might fixate on things they like, such as watching a cartoon or playing their favorite game. Students dealing with ADHD lose interest in the initial phase and they try to avoid things asked to focus on. They can look similar.  The difference will be the severity in the autistic person and the other traits listed below.

You can also look at the way the person learns to communicate.

Although in both conditions, children struggle to communicate with others, those dealing with Autism are generally highly focused in their own world. They struggle to put words to their thoughts and fail to express their feelings. They also find it difficult to make eye contact with someone. On the other hand, a child dealing with ADHD can talk non-stop and can be very social. They can be talkative and challenging to stop them once they stop.

While an autism child loves to repeated events, those dealing with ADHD like to move onto the next interest. A child coping with Autism might like the consistent routine of things, whereas those with ADHD do not like to do the same thing over and over again. They like to explore new things often.

While these are samples that help differentiate between ADHD and Autism, there are many more characteristics considered before a diagnosis could occur.

The first and most important thing to do is to visit the doctor.  Let the expert decide what your child is going through if you suspect either condition. To diagnose ADHD, doctors generally look at the behavioral pattern of the child over time, for instance – not following the instructions, being forgetful, not listening to parents, fidgeting and so on. They ask for feedback from parents and teachers and draw a conclusion based on their observation and symptoms. The feedback for Autism is much more complicated.   Look below at the full DSM5 criteria the professional use to determine if it is ADHD or Autism.

 

Here are the full Diagnostic Criteria for Autism Spectrum Disorder from the www.cdc.gov site

  1. Persistent deficits in social communication and social interaction across multiple contexts, as manifested by the following, currently or by history (examples are illustrative, not exhaustive; see text):
    1. Deficits in social-emotional reciprocity, ranging, for example, from abnormal social approach and failure of normal back-and-forth conversation; to reduced sharing of interests, emotions, or affect; to failure to initiate or respond to social interactions.
    2. Deficits in nonverbal communicative behaviors used for social interaction, ranging, for example, from poorly integrated verbal and nonverbal communication; to abnormalities in eye contact and body language or deficits in understanding and use of gestures; to a total lack of facial expressions and nonverbal communication.
    3. Deficits in developing, maintaining, and understand relationships, ranging, for example, from difficulties adjusting behavior to suit various social contexts; to difficulties in sharing imaginative play or in making friends; to absence of interest in peers.

Specify current severity:

Severity is based on social communication impairments and restricted, repetitive patterns of behavior.

  1. Restricted, repetitive patterns of behavior, interests, or activities, as manifested by at least two of the following, currently or by history (examples are illustrative, not exhaustive; see text):
    1. Stereotyped or repetitive motor movements, use of objects, or speech (e.g., simple motor stereotypes, lining up toys or flipping objects, echolalia, idiosyncratic phrases).
    2. Insistence on sameness, inflexible adherence to routines, or ritualized patterns of verbal or nonverbal behavior (e.g., extreme distress at small changes, difficulties with transitions, rigid thinking patterns, greeting rituals, need to take same route or eat same food every day).
    3. Highly restricted, fixated interests that are abnormal in intensity or focus (e.g., strong attachment to or preoccupation with unusual objects, excessively circumscribed or perseverative interests).
    4. Hyper- or hyperreactivity to sensory input or unusual interest in sensory aspects of the environment (e.g. apparent indifference to pain/temperature, adverse response to specific sounds or textures, excessive smelling or touching of objects, visual fascination with lights or movement).

Specify current severity:

Severity is based on social communication impairments and restricted, repetitive patterns of behavior.

  1. Symptoms must be present in the early developmental period (but may not become fully manifest until social demands exceed limited capacities, or may be masked by learned strategies in later life).
  2. Symptoms cause clinically significant impairment in social, occupational, or other important areas of current functioning.
  3. These disturbances are not better explained by intellectual disability (intellectual developmental disorder) or global developmental delay. Intellectual disability and autism spectrum disorder frequently co-occur; to make comorbid diagnoses of autism spectrum disorder and intellectual disability, social communication should be below that expected for general developmental level

 

DSM-5 Criteria for ADHD

People with ADHD show a persistent pattern of inattention and/or hyperactivity–impulsivity that interferes with functioning or development:

 

  1. Inattention: Six or more symptoms of inattention for children up to age 16 years, or five or more for adolescents age 17 years and older and adults; symptoms of inattention have been present for at least 6 months, and they are inappropriate for developmental level:
    1. Often fails to give close attention to details or makes careless mistakes in schoolwork, at work, or with other activities.
    2. Often has trouble holding attention on tasks or play activities.
    3. Often does not seem to listen when spoken to directly.
    4. Often does not follow through on instructions and fails to finish schoolwork, chores, or duties in the workplace (e.g., loses focus, side-tracked).
    5. Often has trouble organizing tasks and activities.
    6. Often avoids, dislikes, or is reluctant to do tasks that require mental effort over a long period of time (such as schoolwork or homework).
    7. Often loses things necessary for tasks and activities (e.g. school materials, pencils, books, tools, wallets, keys, paperwork, eyeglasses, mobile telephones).
    8. Is often easily distracted
    9. Is often forgetful in daily activities.
  2. Hyperactivity and Impulsivity: Six or more symptoms of hyperactivity-impulsivity for children up to age 16 years, or five or more for adolescents age 17 years and older and adults; symptoms of hyperactivity-impulsivity have been present for at least 6 months to an extent that is disruptive and inappropriate for the person’s developmental level:
    1. Often fidgets with or taps hands or feet, or squirms in seat.
    2. Often leaves seat in situations when remaining seated is expected.
    3. Often runs about or climbs in situations where it is not appropriate (adolescents or adults may be limited to feeling restless).
    4. Often unable to play or take part in leisure activities quietly.
    5. Is often “on the go” acting as if “driven by a motor”.
    6. Often talks excessively.
    7. Often blurts out an answer before a question has been completed.
    8. Often has trouble waiting their turn.
    9. Often interrupts or intrudes on others (e.g., butts into conversations or games)
The accurate diagnosis of the condition starts when you start talking to the doctor about behavior, what he/she dislikes, what they struggle with.  Apart from the symptoms and behavioral patterns, some more tools and tests are conducted to understand what the client is dealing with.

Fortunately, there are many resources available today to help distinguish the two conditions and behavioral plan options to help live the most productive and fulfilled life.

If you have anything to share please feel free to reach out to me at www.razcoaching.com  or www. coachingacademics.com. [email protected] Or follow my www.Instagram.com/razcoaching. I do daily mini blogs with tips of inspiration. I post almost every day.  There’s something in there for you that can help you with your focus for the day.

 

5 Career Advantages You Get By…. Volunteering

5 Career Advantages You Get By…. Volunteering

Volunteer Your Way To A Career

“What is the essence of life? To serve others and to do good.” – Aristotle

Whether you’re an experienced employee seeking a new career, or about to enter the workforce without a clear idea of your ideal profession, you can’t go wrong by volunteering.

Career GoalsSeriously…

Volunteering may not directly pay the bills, but have you ever thought about volunteering your way into a career that you’ll love?

Because let’s face it:

It’s 2019, and simply sending out your resume for just any old job that looks interesting isn’t going to cut it.

But don’t worry.  I’m about to let you in on an untapped strategy secret: the power of volunteering as part of your career development.

Here are five high-value, low-risk advantages to help you discover your ideal career through volunteering.

The Fabulous Five Advantages

1.   Expand your networking: not only will you meet an entirely new group of people as a volunteer, usually you’ll be in a friendly environment without a lot of pressure. This frees you to relax and be yourself with people who share your interests. You can make more meaningful connections, and have more genuine conversations, than are sometimes possible at formal networking events.

2.   Discover your volunteer personality: the more you understand yourself, the better you can home in on a volunteer opportunity that will help you discover your dream career. A good place to start is with the Myers-Briggs test. You’ll discover your strengths, your communication and learning styles, and the type of training you may need for the career you desire.

3.   Receive free training: And speaking of training, when you volunteer you have the opportunity to receive free training that may otherwise cost you hundreds or thousands of dollars. If your idea of volunteering has been limited to stuffing envelopes or answering phones, good news! You could learn how to design a website, manage a project, or become a top-notch fundraiser. The list is endless.

4.   Get early access to employment openings: because you’ll be a part of an organization that’s hiring, you’ll have become known to a group of people as someone reliable and competent. When job openings become available in your organization (or one in its network), you’ve got people who will vouch for you. Employers often go with someone known to them, even over someone who on paper is more qualified, so you’ll have a definite advantage.

5.   Test your purpose: Eleanor Roosevelt said, “The purpose of life is to live it, to taste and experience to the utmost, to reach out eagerly and without fear for newer and richer experiences.” If you already know your life purpose, excellent! What better way to put it to a test than to volunteer in the field you’ve chosen? And if you haven’t yet had the opportunity to discover your purpose, there are ways to uncover it so you can learn which organizations might be a good fit for your talents and passion. When you infuse your life purpose into your chosen volunteer work – well, look out, world, you’re going to be on fire!

See how volunteering can propel you down the path to your ideal career? Yet it’s often overlooked by people when they are deciding on a profession.

Over To You

If you spend a significant amount of time wondering “I’m not sure if this is the right career choice! What if I hate it?”, I feel you.

Choosing a profession is a huge commitment. You can’t afford to take a shot in the dark, fingers crossed, hoping for the best.

There are so many different organizations with a wide variety of opportunities within them, you may find to your surprise that it’s hard to choose because of the abundance. And isn’t that a lovely spot to be in?

Give your choice a chance without risking everything. Even if you realize you made a mistake, the worst that’s happened is you’ve given up some of your time and effort and probably made a few friends on the journey.

But along the way you’ve made a difference to someone else’s life. You’ve gotten to know yourself better.

Volunteering extra bonus benefit: Actively being a good person and making a positive impact in your own life and many others!

Raz Coaching specializes in helping people with executive function challenges associated with ADHD, PTSD, Stress, TBI’s and ASD find careers they will love and land them. Read more at www.razcoaching.com/about Or sign up for the weekly blog and learn about my new book Happiness+Passion+Purpose.

ADHD Keeping You From Landing That Perfect Job?

ADHD Keeping You From Landing That Perfect Job?

Undiagnosed ADHD Could Be Keeping You From Landing Your Dream Career!

What if I told you your undiagnosed ADHD stands between you and your perfect job?

You’d think I’m crazy, right? ADHD is overused as an excuse. You just haven’t found your ideal job yet; that’s all. Besides, your current job is a nightmare. Who wouldn’t be disorganized in such a terrible place?

Sure, you have trouble getting to work on time, but it’s just because you’re unmotivated.

Because there’s no way you have ADHD.

Or is there?

Spotting ADHD In Yourself

Land that jobSpotting ADHD in kids is pretty simple. But for adults, the symptoms are more subtle. Whereas, for example, kids may bounce off the walls, you’re restless. You can’t relax; even so, you’re surprised when people describe you as edgy or tense.

Are you one of those people who is forever late? No matter how hard you try, you just can’t get organized and out of the house on time.

While you’re driving, already tense because you know you’re late again, you’re more likely to drive erratically or speed.

ADHD in adulthood is equally prevalent in both men and women. It  can be something you struggled with throughout your life or after an illness or trauma event – physical or mental.

Take The First Step

First, if you suspect you might have ADHD that’s interfering with your ability to have your dream career, I encourage you to take one of the free online tests that’s available.

While the test won’t take the place of an official diagnosis, it’s something you can do in the privacy of your own home as a first step toward discovering what’s going on with you.

You’ll be asked questions such as:

●     How often do you make careless mistakes when you have to work on a boring or difficult project?

●     How often do you have trouble wrapping up the final details of a project, once the challenging parts have been done?

●     How often do you have difficulty getting things in order when you have to do a task that requires organization?

But note that your answer to any one of the questions doesn’t indicate you have ADHD, which is why getting an assessment by a qualified professional is important. An accurate assessment is a more complex undertaking than an online test.

The Power of Knowledge

If you receive a diagnosis of ADHD, take heart. You have newfound knowledge that will help give you accurate guidance toward your ideal career, much like an updated GPS will get you to your correct destination.

Though many helpful career aptitude tools exist, the most common test used to help people identify strengths and weakness in different categories is the Differential Aptitude Test (DAT). This online test will help you understand why you do well or struggle in certain areas. Not only can the DAT help to identify your aptitude, it can show how you best apply your aptitude.

Dig In to Get a Perspective

Receiving a diagnosis of ADHD as an adult can be a profoundly unsettling experience.

You may feel ashamed.

Like there’s something wrong with you.

Or you may feel relieved. Finally, you have some answers.

You might feel angry, because you wish you’d had this information years ago. Your life would have been so much easier if only you’d known about your ADHD sooner. You would have made more informed choices. Let yourself off the hook for those times you felt freakish.

When you’re overcome with emotion, remember that you don’t have to go through this experience by yourself.

Seek help – a supportive friend; a therapist; or a coach can be invaluable for learning the many strategies out there to help you manage the weaknesses that come with having ADHD. There may be some advantages with the diagnsosis that can help you; like an incredible drive that helps get things done on tight deadlines. This could be a great value in a high demanding job requiring periodic pushes to meet timelines.

Be Happy For The Clarity and Go After That Job!

While you might at first be upset to discover you have ADHD, I encourage you to reframe your diagnosis in a positive light.

Now you have detailed knowledge to move forward and identify a career you’ll love; one that’s suitable for you in your wholeness that includes a diagnosis of ADHD.

You won’t be stuck in a job that doesn’t fit you and feeling like a failure because you just can’t seem to get it together.

Instead, you’ll free yourself to thrive in a profession that supports all of your talents and qualities with adjustments to your day to day actions to help manage your ADHD.

You’ll feel more satisfied with your life in mere knowing of your diagnosis and begin to identify the next steps to working with your ADHD and not against it anymore.

Once you face it and embrace it, landing that perfect job can happen!

Raz Coaching specializes in helping people with executive function challenges associated with ADHD, PTSD, Stress, TBI’s and ASD find careers they will love and land them. Read more at www.razcoaching.com/about Or sign up for the weekly blog or purchase my new book Happiness+Passion+Purpose.

Sleep on It For a Brighter Day

Sleep on It For a Brighter Day

Brain Fog, ADHD and Sleep

I wish I could sleep… but my ADHD kicks in and well basically, one sheep, two sheep, cow, turtle, duck, Ol McDonald had a farm…

“I am having an ADHD Day…”

ADHD and SleepThere are some days that you are so productive and you champion through everything like superwoman with laser focus and unbound energy. Then there are those days you are NOT and nothing seems to get done.

What makes these days so extreme?

Sleep Deprivation is a huge factor for someone with ADHD……

You toss, you turn, you stare at the numbers slowly changing on your clock.

Get up. Drink a glass of water.

Lay down. Stare at the ceiling. Turn on some soothing music.

Get up. Pace around.

Fall asleep minutes before the alarm goes off, shattering what sleep you did get.

Drag yourself to the kitchen, gulp coffee, head to work.

But you can’t focus. Your brain is so foggy even a lighthouse couldn’t warn you away from danger.

And the worst part?

You know tonight’s probably going to be the same which in turn causes anxiety making you more awake and unable to relax into a deep sleep.

A Common Complaint

ADHD is widely known to be associated with disturbed or disordered sleep. It’s the number one most common complaint by people who have ADHD; up to 80% of adults are estimated to suffer from sleep disorders.

You may find it takes you a long time to fall asleep; then, when you do, you sleep only for short periods.

A growing body of research shows that ADHD may fall into the category of what’s called Circadian Rhythm Sleep Disorders, defined as when people “are unable to go to sleep and awaken at the times commonly required for work and school as well as social needs.”

Which all adds up to foggy brain, perpetual grogginess, and even nodding off during the day.

Drugs Don’t Help. Or Do They?

That stimulant drug you were prescribed for your ADHD may be contributing to your disordered sleep by winding you up before bedtime.

Or not, because some of them, paradoxically, calm people with ADHD by alleviating their symptoms.

Practices For a Better Night’s Rest and Brighter Day

Feeling frustrated yet? Although the links between ADHD and sleep disorders are complex, there are some steps you can take to get clear about how to address your sleep problems.

Here is a list you can use:

  • Exercise daily
  • Set and maintain a regular bedtime and waking time schedule (yes, even on weekends)
  • Avoid caffeine after midday
  • Avoid nicotine and alcohol close to bedtime
  • Keep your bedroom dark, quiet, and cool
  • Use a fan or humidifier to create soothing white noise
  • Make your bedroom an electronics-free zone
  • Wear a sleep mask to block out light
  • Stop eating several hours before bedtime
  • Establish a relaxing routine at the end of your day. This signals you it’s time to wind down.

When you use these practices, you’re taking positive steps toward improving your sleep, especially your ability to progress to the deep levels that repair the day’s wear and tear. reducing or even eliminating your brain fog, and increasing your energy.

Sleep isn’t passive. Ongoing sleep issues can adversely affect your health.

It’s a Complicated Relationship

To further add to the complexity, the relationship between ADHD and sleep disorders is a little chicken-and-egg. Which came first? Research has shown that while ADHD may cause sleep problems, sleep problems may in turn cause or even mimic ADHD.

One thing is clear: sleep problems can severely impact your ADHD symptoms, and vice versa.

Productive Days ahead

Now you know why you’ve had your head in the clouds!

Scarcely able to add two plus two and get four. Straining to keep your eyes open through the day. Falling into bed exhausted but wired, willing sleep to come while you stare into the darkness. Worried you might get fired from your job.

Let’s face it: sleep has profound implications for your health, life and career.

And now that you have this information, you can take action to improve your sleep.

You’ll clear the fog from your brain and be able to think more clearly. Feel more energetic and more optimistic having more of those super productive days where everything flows and you feel accomplished!

Raz Coaching specializes in helping people with executive function challenges associated with ADHD, PTSD, Stress, TBI’s and ASD find careers they will love and land them. Read more at www.razcoaching.com/about Or sign up for the weekly blog or purchase my new book Happiness+Passion+Purpose.

3 Steps to Your Inner Career Alchemist

3 Steps to Your Inner Career Alchemist

Tap Into Your Inner Career Alchemist

“If you want to be successful in this world you have to follow your passion, not a paycheck” – Jen Welter, the NFL’s first female coach

You want a career you love, you want to follow your passion, but you don’t even know what it is. How do you figure out this whole passionate career thing when your fears have you stuck like a rat in a trap and you’re so frustrated you want to bang your head on your desk?

You sigh.

Then, not for the first time, you resign yourself to a career that’s okay but doesn’t really juice you.

Take heart.

You might not realize it, but you’re an alchemist.

Yes, you!

WisdomBecause you can transform those fears and frustrations into gold; the insights and awareness to create your passionate career.

I am going to show you how…..

  1. Shift Your Perspective

If you went into a clothing store believing there won’t be anything you like, or if there is, it’s not likely to be in your size; or, even if there is, it will be too expensive – you’ve set yourself up for failure from the get go.

The same goes for finding your passion. If you believe your fears are too strong, too deeply ingrained to move past or see the value in them, you’ve already closed yourself off from the possibility of discovering your passionate career.

We get what we think about. So, when you reframe your thinking to tell yourself, “Won’t it be nice when I discover the career story my fears are telling me?”, you move from closed to curious. Being curious allows insights to flow to you.

For example, say you’re afraid you’re not good enough to pursue a career you find fascinating. When you’re in an open and curious mindset, your insight might be that “not good enough” is simply a worn-out story from your past. You free yourself to explore ideas such as, does this fear serve me? Maybe it did when you were younger, but now you can wave goodbye to it.

Bless the fear, because it once kept you safe. Then let it go. Picture yourself tossing your fear into a river. Let the current carry it away.

2. Connect The Dots

Like Connect The Dots coloring books, your frustrations obscure a picture of what your ideal career would be.

Your task is to find the dots!

Say you notice you’re often frustrated that people with disabilities are excluded from events you attend. Perhaps you have a relative or close friend who’s disabled and you’re sensitized to their needs.

You find yourself checking buildings for wheelchair-accessible ramps and elevators, and wondering why they’re missing. When you hear news stories about a disabled person being discriminated against, you feel drawn to action on their behalf.

These are all dots you can connect: perhaps your passionate career is that of disability advocate? One of my clients with a disability had developed substantial knowledge of government support systems for the disabled. She turned her passion and expertise into a career she loves as a consultant.

3. Set Your Imagination On Fire

With the abundance of information available on the internet, you can not only research new career possibilities but you may even discover a career you love that you can do online or on the phone.

As I’ve written before, technology has allowed people to re-create their beloved career in a different way when they’re faced with physical challenges. As well, there are jobs available today that weren’t feasible in the past. You can teach English to children in China from your home. Perhaps you’re passionate about supporting others in their role – nowadays virtual assistants are commonplace.

Once you’ve shifted your perspective and connected the dots to create a beautiful picture, let your imagination run free and discover the possibilities that await you.

Unleash The Alchemist

The next time you’re sitting at your desk, chin propped on your hand, staring into space wondering where this alleged passionate career is – remember, the shape of it is there in your fears and frustrations. Yes, those same fears that are keeping you frozen in place.

Be glad for your fears. Honor your frustrations. They’re simply gold in a different form, waiting for you to transform them.

In the future, when you’re feeling blessed and loving the career you’ve discovered, you’ll smile when you think back to how you nearly missed the riches contained in your frustrations and fears that at once time seemed insurmountable. Then you’ll turn to your co-worker who’s telling you about her own anxieties and say, “Let me tell you a story about someone who turned their fear into gold.”

Raz Coaching specializes in helping people with executive function challenges associated with ADHD, PTSD, Stress, TBI’s and ASD find careers they will love and land them. Read more at www.razcoaching.com/about Or sign up for the weekly blog or purchase my new book Happiness+Passion+Purpose.