View Full Version : Hyper focus and newest research

05-21-15, 04:07 PM
Hi everybody

Recently I was told that the latest research showed that ADD (meaning ADHD without the hyperactivity) in reality may actually be the combination of autism (ASF) with high sensitivity.
However, I haven't been able to find more information about that theory. At the same time it frustrates me a lot if thatīs the case, since I can't identify with the autistic traits that relate to social skills. I do have problems with hyperfocus and an extreme attention to detail, but I can easily read people's emotions and I value social interaction a lot. As far as I know, one of the most central characteristics of autism is not being able to read people?

Because of this I am quite confused, as I am trying to map my identity in relation to my condition.
Does anyone know more about the theory I mentioned above? Are there any other sources backing this theory? And what are your own experiences? Can any of you relate to my scepticism regarding the connection between ADD and autism? And what is your experiences with your ADD?

I am looking forward to any feedback you can give me.

05-21-15, 06:26 PM
Where did you hear that?

There can be some shared traits between ADHD and autism, including sensitivities and difficulties with emotional regulation and shifting attention. People can also have both ADHD and autism.

Still, I've not heard of ADHD (with or without prominent hyperactivity/impulsivity symptoms) being considered to be a combination of autistic traits + sensitivity.

There has been some more serious research on what some researchers call "sluggish cognitive tempo" or "SCT", which also has some commonalities with ADHD and often seems to co-occur. You might find this topic interesting. There have been several SCT-related threads here (mostly in the "Inattentive ADD" section), and there are also some articles floating around elsewhere, in addition to the scientific literature.

My general feeling is that any diagnostic label is going to be imperfect -- it will capture some aspects of a person's behavior and cognition better than others, and the labels represent current (and, because of the way the labels are decided, often actually outdated!) thinking about disorders. The experts' understanding of disorders, how they fit with each other, and how and why different people struggle with different aspects of them, will necessarily change over time as we learn more about the brain and behavior and what influences it.

So, to sum up...
a) I haven't heard of ADHD (predominantly inattentive) being described as autism + sensitivities,
b) keep in mind that diagnostic labels are imperfect and represent changing ideas about the nature of mental disorders, and
c) my advice would be that you don't need to base your identity on labels that you feel don't fit; work on knowing yourself and what makes you tick, and embrace/incorporate labels only to the extent that they help you make sense of your struggles or provide access to ideas/strategies/treatments that may improve your life.

Best wishes!

Poe's Imp
05-21-15, 08:22 PM
I'm married to an Aspie or High-Functioning Autistic person and I'm currently being assessed for ADHD-pi (I fit the stereotype inattentive so well I'm going to assume that I have it).
The kind of 'lacks' my partner has in fitting in socially and then the forensic way she can analyse and hold so much information in her mind makes her the polar opposite of myself. There may be a certain otherworldliness in common but I don't think its the same thing at all. It's just one opinion of course but I wonder if a certain academic impulse is at work, the one that seeks to re-categorise or make counter-intuitive connections to gain scholarly prestige.

Feel free to be annoyed at the following but I sometimes wonder if too much focus on one's own self can lead to greater problems that can spill over into something like narcissism. I am certainly not suggesting this in your own case. However I am wondering why you see hyperfocus and attention to detail as a problem? These can be highly valued abilities in any area of life.

Lastly there's a certain 'cool factor' still related to autism at the moment. My experience is that this has arisen from autistic people standing up for themselves more and being co-opted by those who have similar difficulties fitting in but who have other issues, maybe sometimes to do with social anxiety. I'm not sure you need to associate yourself with autism at all if it really doesn't seem to fit your personality. Rather than spending time seeking connections with autism, why not celebrate yourself as you currently are or if self-esteem is an issue explore ways to build confidence and combat any self-defeating behaviour?

Anyway I hope I haven't offended you at all. I love your country and I don't want to **** off any Danes! Hej hej!

05-30-15, 05:42 AM
im "very adhd" and hyperfocus and have done some autism test in my native language, some time ago, its on the net and the "best" one, they say...
i didnt even reach the minimum points to count as autistic.
(35 was minimum, i had 23 or 25).

one part of the questions, i totally and fully and completely rejected ("do you", "are you...")
i thought, hell no - im 1 million % opposite

the other set of the questions was totally and fully and completely matching at me. even much more of that, with every cell.

there were only two extremes of questions.
nothing in between.

not a single question, i could have answered "sometimes" "a little".
it was either +1000% or -1000%

thats weird?

05-30-15, 07:31 PM Posted by Abstract

To determine whether familial transmission is shared between autism spectrum disorders and attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder, we assessed the prevalence, rates of comorbidity, and familial transmission of both disorders in a large population-based sample of children during a recent 7 year period.


Study participants included all children born to parents with the Kaiser Permanente Northwest (KPNW) Health Plan between 1 January 1998 and 31 December 2004 (n = 35,073). Children and mothers with physician-identified autism spectrum disorders (ASD) and/or attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) were identified via electronic medical records maintained for all KPNW members.


Among children aged 6-12 years, prevalence was 2.0% for ADHD and 0.8% for ASD; within those groups, 0.2% of the full sample (19% of the ASD sample and 9.6% of the ADHD sample) had co-occurring ASD and ADHD, when all children were included. When mothers had a diagnosis of ADHD, first born offspring were at 6-fold risk of ADHD alone (OR = 5.02, p < .0001) and at 2.5-fold risk of ASD alone (OR = 2.52, p < .01). Results were not accounted for by maternal age, child gestational age, child gender, and child race.


Autism spectrum disorders shares familial transmission with ADHD. ADHD and ASD have a partially overlapping diathesis.

there is strong evidence that autism and add share a genetic diathesis

so it wouldn't be autism plus sensitivity

its likely an emotional sensitivity, where adhd poor emotional regulation is displayed outwardly , autism ( i believe its likely more the aspie type then the kanner)

autism tends to internalize them, leading to extreme emotion/environmental stimulation avoidance such as obsessiveness and flat affect (just a couple examples)

i cycle, ill be aspie like at times and hard ADHD at others

it could be another reason why its noted that some ADHD children start displaying aspire traits in their teens, a constant bombardment by emotional flooding and environment can lead to a dissociative shut down

its kind of funny, this is very similar to millons biosocial model of avoidant PD from the 60s

the child is born with an extreme sensitivity to fear and anxiety, combined with life events leads to AVPD (which is extremely similar to what a lot call aspie traits)