HealthDay News — An initial attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) diagnosis may be associated with delayed autism spectrum disorder (ASD) diagnosis, according to a study published in Pediatrics.

Amir Miodovnik, MD, MPH, from Boston Children’s Hospital, and colleagues analyzed parent-reported data from the 2011 to 2012 National Survey of Children’s Health. Using weighted prevalence estimates, the authors sought to assess the association between a previous diagnosis of ADHD and the age at ASD diagnosis.

The researchers found that among 1,496 children (aged 2 to 17 years) with a current diagnosis of ASD, 20% had initially been diagnosed with ADHD. Children diagnosed with ADHD first were nearly 30 times more likely to receive their ASD diagnosis after 6 years of age. This delay in ASD diagnosis was independent of ASD severity.

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“To avoid potential delays in ASD diagnosis, clinicians should consider ASD in young children presenting with ADHD symptoms,” the authors write.


  1. Miodovnik A et al. Pediatrics. 2015; doi:10.1542/peds.2015-1502.