Difference Between ADHD and Autism (With Table)

Autism and ADHD are both neurodevelopmental disorders. A lot of the physical signs of autism and ADHD are the same. It might be challenging to recognize and notice these traits in children.

Autistic individuals often have difficulty understanding verbal language, which is called receptive language and expressing their thoughts, which is called expressive language. In contrast, symptoms of ADHD include inattention and hyperactivity-impulsivity, which can interfere with functioning or development. These symptoms can be mild or severe:

ADHD vs Autism

The main difference between ADHD and Autism is that ADHD patients have difficulty focusing on one task for long periods and are frequently distracted. On the other hand, Autism patients may have a narrow variety of interests.

Difference Between ADHD and Autism

ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder) is a neurological ailment marked by chronic inattention or impulsive conduct that hinders performance and growth. Studies indicate that ADHD can run in families; it isn’t developed from environmental factors such as parenting, poverty, psychology, or social status. Most people with ADHD have the combined subtype of ADHD, meaning they display symptoms from all three categories: inattentiveness, impulsivity, and hyperactivity.

Autism is often thought of as a disorder that needs to be cured. But many autistic adults have come together to change this view. They believe that autism is not a disorder but rather an alternate way of seeing the world—a difference. Children with autism need special care and attention. They need help developing their language, play and social skills and finding ways to express themselves better. There are no medications for autism.

Comparison Table Between ADHD and Autism

Parameters of ComparisonADHDAutism
Description  A neurodevelopmental disease affects children’s ability to focus, pay attention, sit quietly, and regulate their urges.Autism impairs a person’s social communication and engagement in various situations. Repetitive motions are a feature of autistic disorder (ASD).
Symptoms He appears to be forgetful, easily distracted, or daydreaming. He doesn’t seem to be paying attention and has problems following directions. Is prone to temper tantrums or meltdowns as a result of frustration or a lack of impulse control Organization and job completion issuesHas delayed speech (or no address) or repeats sentences over and over Changes in routine irritate him. Problems with social abilities To self-soothe, he does a lot of movements.  
Variance There appear to be three types of ADHD, and each individual may display different symptoms.The symptoms of ASD are more diverse than those of ADHD. ASD is a broad term that refers to a variety of issues.
Effect on personMaking and retaining friends can be challenging for someone with ADHD who struggles to follow social rules.The most challenging parts of ASD are social comprehension, connection, and repetitive behaviours or routines.  
Treatment Professional educational therapists, organizational coaches, doctors, neurologists, developmental-behavioural paediatricians, nurse practitioners, and child psychiatrists can aid ADHD patients. Paediatricians, neurologists, developmental-behavioural paediatricians, child psychiatrists, psychologists, and speech therapists can all aid individuals with autism.  

What is ADHD?

People with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) have trouble managing their emotions. They may act impulsively and make risky decisions or have mood swings and display aggression.

Because of their poor impulse control, some people with ADHD are at greater risk for substance abuse problems. And the symptoms of ADHD can make it harder to complete tasks that involve memory or organization — such as schoolwork and household chores.

However, many people with ADHD manage to overcome these difficulties and achieve great success in school, work and relationships. Part of the reason for this is that ADHD varies significantly from person to person. Some people have predominantly inattentive ADHD; others have hyperactive-impulsive ADHD essentially. Some people have a combination of both types.

While there’s no cure for ADHD, treatment can help relieve many of the disorder’s most burdensome symptoms. These include medications, behavioural interventions and counselling.

If you have inattentive ADHD, you might seem to be zoned out and can’t get your mind back on track. If you have hyperactive and impulsive ADHD, you might find it hard to sit still or wait your turn.

Children with ADHD don’t just grow out of these behaviours. They may begin to show signs early and continue to struggle throughout life. But some treatments can help.

Attention deficit disorder was once thought to affect only children. Today we know that many adults also have attention deficit disorder. Attention deficit disorder affects an estimated 4% to 5% of the adult U.S. population.

What is Autism?

Autism is a group of neurodevelopmental disorders that involve difficulties with social interaction, communication, and thought. Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is used to describe these disorders. 

The earliest indicators of autism may appear as early as six months old, with signs such as avoiding eye contact, lack of response to their name, difficulty understanding other people’s emotions, trouble expressing their own emotions and delayed speech development.

Autism affects each child differently. Some children have only mild symptoms, while others have more severe symptoms. There are three levels of autism spectrum disorder:

Level 1 Autism Spectrum Disorder – Requiring support: The individual has mild symptoms that interfere with everyday life but can generally do routine tasks independently. They may need assistance in areas such as social interaction or handling change. 

Level 2 Autism Spectrum Disorder – Requiring substantial support: The individual has moderate symptoms and needs help with most regular activities. They may be able to care for themselves but need supervision. Level 3 Autism Spectrum Disorder – Requiring very substantial support: The individual has severe symptoms that affect almost all daily life aspects. They may require constant care and supervision.

Main Differences Between ADHD and Autism 

  1. Professional developmental-behavioural paediatricians, child psychiatrists, paediatricians, neurologists, organizational coaches, nurse practitioners, and educational therapists can help ADHD patients. In contrast, experienced paediatricians, neurologists, developmental-behavioural paediatricians, Speech therapists, psychologists, and child psychiatrists can help Autism patients.
  2. Autism is a neurodevelopmental disorder that affects people’s ability to focus, pay attention, sit quietly, and manage their impulses in various contexts. In contrast, ADHD impacts a person’s ability to focus, sit quietly, pay attention and regulate their urges. Autistic condition is marked by repetitive gestures (ASD).
  3. There appear to be three varieties of ADHD, and each person may have distinct symptoms, although ASD symptoms are more varied than ADHD symptoms. 
  4. Making and keeping friends can be difficult for someone with ADHD who has trouble adhering to social standards. In contrast, social cognition, connection, and repetitive behaviours or routines are the most challenging aspects of ASD.
  5. Unlike many physical conditions, ADHD is a cognitive problem that cannot be identified with a medical test. Autism, on the other hand, cannot be diagnosed with a diagnostic check such as a blood test or a physical exam.


Difficulty in focusing, repeating certain words or phrases, high energy and sensitivity to loud sounds are common symptoms of autism and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).

A lot of the physical signs of autism and ADHD are the same. It might be challenging to recognize and notice these traits in children. This can worsen if parents fail to understand that their child needs help.