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Front Hum Neurosci. 2014 Apr 29;8:268. doi: 10.3389/fnhum.2014.00268. eCollection 2014.

The co-occurrence of autism and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder in children - what do we know?

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Child Development Center, Dana-Dwek Children's Hospital, Tel Aviv Sourasky Medical Center , Tel Aviv , Israel ; Sackler School of Medicine, Tel Aviv University , Tel Aviv , Israel.


Symptoms of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and autistic spectrum disorder (ASD) often co-occur. The DSM-IV had specified that an ASD diagnosis is an exclusion criterion for ADHD, thereby limiting research of this common clinical co-occurrence. As neurodevelopmental disorders, both ASD and ADHD share some phenotypic similarities, but are characterized by distinct diagnostic criteria. The present review will examine the frequency and implications of this clinical co-occurrence in children, with an emphasis on the available data regarding pre-school age. The review will highlight possible etiologies explaining it, and suggest future research directions necessary to enhance our understanding of both etiology and therapeutic interventions, in light of the new DSM-V criteria, allowing for a dual diagnosis.


attention deficit hyperactivity disorder; autistic spectrum disorders; co-morbidity; co-occurrence; diagnostic and statistical manual

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