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Hi! I am Tamara McGuire Hull. You are probably here because you too have or care for a child or teen who has both autism and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), or maybe you are a teacher, grandparent, foster parent, friend or other family member who wants to provide support. I created Autism & ADHD Connection to provide parents and others with information about autism and ADHD in one place.

Tamara Hull

As a parent of a teen with high-functioning autism and ADHD and a former board member of the Autism Community Connection, I know what it’s like to go through the challenges and rewards of life with autism. I know what it’s like to rejoice when a behavior change clicks or a milestone is reached. I definitely know what it’s like to feel overwhelmed and frustrated at my child for continued behaviors that we’ve been trying to improve for what seems like (or actually has been) years. I know the joy of seeing him connect with a potential new friend and experience the heartbreak when a friendship doesn’t work out. I know what it feels like when others cannot understand what our family is experiencing. I have felt the judgmental looks from others who think I’m a bad parent because my child has a meltdown at the worst time or refuses to do what I ask.

The prevalence of children who are diagnosed both with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and ADHD continues to rise. Parents, caregivers, teachers and many others are seeking more knowledge about these conditions and how they may or may not relate to one another. Some days I have no idea if I’m dealing more with ASD or ADHD. I know from other parents that they feel the same way.

I hope that I can provide some support to you and to help you feel like you are not alone in this journey. Let’s celebrate our kids’ strengths and accomplishments. We also can be there for one another on those days when it’s just tough.

Autism & ADHD Connection – My Journey

Tamara Hull

My family’s journey through ASD and ADHD began in 2008 with a diagnosis of Asperger’s Syndrome (now referred to as high-functioning autism) for my oldest son J. J was four years old when he was diagnosed, after he was initially tested for ADHD when I saw significant hyperactivity symptoms. At the time, he was too young to determine if he also had ADHD or if the symptoms were from the hyperactivity component of Asperger’s. He was tested for ADHD once he was in Kindergarten, and the diagnosis was confirmed.

The years since then have been full of challenges, learning and ultimately a lot of love for J. He is such a special kid, with a smile that lights up the room, excitement for things most of us take for granted and a big heart.

When he was first diagnosed with Asperger’s, I dove into reading and researching everything I could find about the condition. I was still convinced that he also had ADHD (let’s call that Mother’s Intuition!), and everything I read insisted that the two were separate diagnoses and that children didn’t have both. I wasn’t surprised when J was diagnosed with both, as I saw specific characteristics of Asperger’s and ADHD. Even now, some days he is more Aspie, and other days he exhibits more hyperactivity and impulsivity.

Another aspect of this journey that I discuss on this blog is finances. I am a certified financial education instructor, and your personal finances are certainly impacted when you have a child with autism. I want to help other parents navigate through the financial hurdles as well.

I hope this information on the blog will help others who are caring for loved ones who either have both ASD and ADHD. I look forward to hearing about your journeys as well. You are not alone, and I hope we can all encourage and support one another.