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Arq Neuropsiquiatr. 2010 Feb;68(1):103-6.

Frequency of symptoms of attention deficit and hyperactivity disorder in autistic children.

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  • 1Bahia School of Medicine and Public Health, Salvador, BA, Brazil.



Both DSM-IV and the ICD-10 exclude diagnosis of attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) when autism diagnostic is present. Some authors suggest, however, that autism can be associated to other comorbidity amongst which the ADHD.


To estimate prevalence of ADHD in children with autism.


Children were selected from a specialized school, all of then had previous diagnosis or diagnostic suspicion of autism. The Brazilian version of the KIDDIE-SADS PL was applied to parents for diagnostic of ADHD. DSM-IV diagnostic of autism was based on parents' interview and child observation.


32 children were included in the study. Results show that 53.1% of the ASD child had ADHD symptoms enough to fulfill DSM-IV diagnostic criteria, whereas 56.9% did not fulfill DSM-IV criteria for ADHD.


Results suggest a high frequency of ADHD symptoms in ASD patients. Elucidating if we are facing a comorbity or an autism distinct phenotype can contribute for a more adjusted pharmacotherapy approach for these children.

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