What do I do if I think I have...

What do I do if I think I have Asperger’s Syndrome or ADHD? A look at the symptoms of each and steps you can take to get professional help, especially if you are nervous. (French version available)

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By Bhargavi Venkataraman

What is Aspergers’s Syndrome?

Asperger’s syndrome is a developmental disorder that is characterized by a difficulty with connecting with others socially, as well as inflexible and repetitive behaviours and thinking patterns.

Although children and teens with Asperger’s are generally able to converse with others and perform in school settings optimally, they have trouble when it comes to nuanced social situations and forms of communication (e.g. body language and sarcasm).

Lastly, those with Asperger’s can get fixated on a specific topic or set of interests to the point that the obsession interferes with their normal lives. Although many people still use Asperger’s to refer to this syndrome, it is important to note that its name has been officially changed and it now is part of a condition called Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD).

What is ADHD? 

Attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is one of the most prominent neurodevelopmental disorders in children. It is characterized by a difficulty with paying attention, managing impulsive tendencies, and hyperactivity. There are three key presentations of this disorder:

  1. Predominantly Inattentive Presentation – The individual has trouble with:
    • Completing a task 
    • Paying attention to details 
    • Keeping up with instructions and conversations
  2. Predominantly Hyperactive-Impulsive Presentation – The individual has trouble with:
    • Sitting still 
    • Paying attention 
    • Listening to directions 
    • Controlling impulsivity
  3. Combined Presentation – The individual displays symptoms of the other two presentation types equally.

Although the causes and risk-factors of ADHD cannot be fully explained, genetics, brain injury, alcohol/drug use during pregnancy, and low-birth weight are all thought to play key contributing factors.

It is critical to note that, despite commonly held views, research shows that excessive sugar intake, television watching, poor parenting, or other social/environmental conditions do not cause ADHD.

Getting a Diagnosis 

Diagnosis for both of these disorders should be made by professionals. If you, your parents, teachers, or peers frequently notice any of the above symptoms, it is recommended that you seek these professionals for additional guidance. 

Some options include pediatricians, child psychologists or psychiatrists, neurologists, and therapists. They can help find ways to cope and manage symptoms, build a support system, and consider potential treatment options.

Getting Treatment for Asperger’s Syndrome

For Asperger’s syndrome, individuals could consider social skills training and occupational therapy to learn basic life skills, and educational therapies for a more structured education curriculum. 

There are also a range of behavioural and communication therapies to aid in the social, language, and behavioural issues associated with Asperger’s and medications.

Getting Treatment for ADHD 

For ADHD, the main treatment course involves a personalized combination of medication, educational and skills training, and formal psychological counseling

Common types of medication prescribed include stimulants like methylphenidate or amphetamine, non-stimulants such as atomoxetine, and specific antidepressants like bupropion.

Common types of psychotherapies are cognitive behavioural therapy and family/marital therapy so that the individual’s loved ones can better learn to support them.

Finally, it is vital to recognize that both the disease causes and treatment plans differ largely according to the individual’s personal background, preferences, and overall situation. Although there is no “cure” for either disorder, it is important to recognize that they are treatable. Early diagnosis and action are crucial in making the treatment process better. Remember that both conditions vary according to the individual’s personal background, preferences, and overall situation. Building a good support system with friends, family, and helpful professionals will help. Keeping a positive mindset and knowing that there are options out there is key!



  1. Adult attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)—Diagnosis and treatment—Mayo Clinic. (2018, January 6). https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/adult-adhd/diagnosis-treatment/drc-20350883
  2. Asperger’s Syndrome: Symptoms, Diagnosis and Treatment. (n.d.). Retrieved September 3, 2022, from https://www.nationwidechildrens.org/conditions/aspergers-syndrome
  3. Autism spectrum disorder—Diagnosis and treatment—Mayo Clinic. (2019, June 22). https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/autism-spectrum-disorder/diagnosis-treatment/drc-20352934
  4. CDC. (2021, January 26). What is ADHD? Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. https://www.cdc.gov/ncbddd/adhd/facts.html

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