A list of things that are associated with Autism or ADHD – Pt 1 – Co-ordination and Vision

Disclaimer

I do not know which of these is responsible for each trait I am going to mention here, it could also be other factors such as unrealised or realised trauma. The overlap of ADHD, Autism and OCD is quite large. There are similar brain structures – so much so that these are considered by some to be the same condition based on neurology.

It is estimated that between 53-78% of those with an Autism diagnosis also have co-occurring ADHD, and around 21% of those with an ADHD diagnosis also have Autism. Source here.

Here I will give you a list of things I have discovered in science that appear to be associated with either ADHD or Autism – The categories might not be 100% with how science currently defines them – the classification and inclusion of overlapping criteria of these things is somewhat open to interpretation.

It’s almost certain no one will have all of these but these occur in higher rates in Autistic or ADHD individuals.

Co-ordination Traits

Apraxia and Dyspraxia

Apraxia – is the total loss of ability to co-ordinate and make purposeful movements and gestures with neurotypical accuracy.

Dyspraxia – is the partial loss of these abilities.

Dyspraxia Traits (Sometimes called Developmental Co-ordination Disorder)

  • May not be able to run, hop, jump, or catch or kick a ball when their peers can do so.
  • Many have trouble managing walking up and down stairs.
  • Always falling over.
  • May not like solid food that needs to be chewed.
  • Poor at getting dressed.
  • ‘Clumsiness’ – not good at picking small things up; tends to break small toys.
  • Slow and hesitant in most actions; tends to trip up.
  • Muscle tone may be high (the muscles seem hard or tense).
  • Muscle tone may be low (a baby may seem floppy when being held).
  • Having trouble copying things from the board in school.
  • Avoiding PE and games.
  • Delayed language development or problems with speech. For example, speech is odd and inconsistent, so that it is difficult to understand.
  • Drawings seem very immature compared to those of other children.

Source: Dyspraxia

Sub-classes or specific learning disabilities

A lot of these seem to overlap as is the case with many neurological differences.

Dyslexia – a reading and writing disability

Those with dyslexia generally have difficulty with a variety of things. Spelling, reading, writing, identifying direction (e.g. left and right mix ups), telling the time, following multiple instructions, and reading comprehension problems may all be present.

Since a large part of dyslexia is about processing difficulties (that is – mentally ordering specific inputs from the world around or the classroom), a child/adult can be very good in some areas but may struggle in others.

Dylexia

Dysgraphia – an issue with fine motor control

Writing requires a complex set of fine motor and language processing skills. For people with dysgraphia, the writing process is much harder and slower. Just holding a pencil and organising letters on a line is difficult. Their handwriting tends to be messy. Many struggle with spelling and putting thoughts on paper. These and other writing tasks, such as putting ideas into language that is organised, may add to struggles with written expression.

It’s important to recognise that dysgraphia is a language-based weakness that may affect information and/or motor processing (including handwriting).

DYSGRAPHIA

Dysgraphia is the most undiagnosed of all specific learning disabilities with estimates of around ~60% of ADHD or Autistic children and teenagers being affected by dysgraphia. It is also one of the least understood disabilities.

For specific information on how dysgraphia presents as an adult there is information here that is the best I have seen.

Dyscalculia – Mental Math Ability

It’s been described as the number one cause of maths weakness that you’ve never heard of. Dyscalculia is a specific learning disability we know very little about yet it affects around 6 percent of the population.

People with dyscalculia may have these traits:

They can lack an “intuitive feel” for numbers and struggle to learn basic number facts and procedures

Even if they produce a correct answer or use a correct method, they may do so mechanically and without confidence

There may be issues with long-term, short-term or working memory or with sequencing

These difficulties can have an adverse effect on day-to-day activities such as following directions, keeping track of time and dealing with finances

DYSCALCULIA

For me the easiest way to think of this is a quite extreme difficulty of doing mental math. I cannot do things in my head.

Again the best source for the presentation of dyscalculia in adults can be found here.

Dyspraxia – General Co-ordination issues

Developmental dyspraxia primarily affects motor function, particularly the gaining of new skills and carrying out of those already learned.

It affects children in different ways at different stages of development, and is inconsistent – as if sometimes information is `put away’ in the wrong drawer.

Dyspraxia is not a behaviour problem, not an overt physical disability, and may not even be visible – until the child tries to learn a new skill, or to repeat a learned one out of context.

Dyspraxia

This is considered it’s own thing – basically general clumsiness is something that they consider to be dyspraxia – the uniform definition of these terms does not exist in science – different websites will tell you different things.

Visual Traits

Vision difficulties

Aside from the common eye problems – namely nearsightedness (myopia) and farsightedness (hyperopia). There are some unique considerations related to visual co-ordination.

These problems can usually be corrected by an optometrist with glasses. These can occur with hyperopia or myopia also.

Irlen Syndrome

Irlen Syndrome (also referred to at times as Meares-Irlen Syndrome, Scotopic Sensitivity Syndrome, and Visual Stress) is a perceptual processing disorder. It is not an optical problem. It is a problem with the brain’s ability to process visual information. This problem tends to run in families and is not currently identified by other standardized educational or medical tests. 

IRLEN Syndrome

This encompasses quite a few things – but light sensitivity is covered by that (I will cover this later on – in the sensitivities section). Reading problems are also included here, as are writing problems.

Astigmatism

Astigmatism is a condition in which your eye isn’t completely round.

Ideally, an eyeball is shaped like a perfectly round ball. Light comes into it and bends evenly, which gives you a clear view. But if your eye is shaped more like a football, light gets bent more in one direction than another. That means only part of an object is in focus. Things at a distance may look blurry and wavy.

Astigmatism

Strabismus (Crossed Eyes)

Crossed eyes, or strabismus, is a condition in which both eyes do not look at the same place at the same time. It usually occurs in people who have poor eye muscle control or are very farsighted. 

Strabismus is classified by the direction the eye turns: 

Esotropia: inward turning.

Exotropia: outward turning.

Hypertropia: upward turning.

Hypotropia: downward turning.

STRABismus

Vertical Heterophoria

An eye condition that is caused by the misalignment of the eyes. Vertical heterophoria is what’s known as a binocular vision dysfunction. That means there is a slight imperceptible difference in your eyesight that could be causing you an array of unpleasant symptoms. Your eyes are designed to work together to create one clear image to present to your brain. When there is dysfunction there, your eye muscles work overtime to help correct the misalignment with the images. People who have vertical heterophoria can experience increasingly debilitating symptoms as their eye muscles work overtime to compensate for the visual disturbances that vertical heterophoria can cause. Some of those symptoms can include motion sickness, anxiety, vertigo, neck pain, and more.

Vertical heterophoria

More to come

I intended this to be a far shorter blog – but nearly every sense ADHD or Autistic people have has a ton of co-occurring sensory issues or things that may need to be dealt with at the same time.

On a personal note I am currently in my Seasonal Affective Disorder period as it is winter in New Zealand. This leaves me with a lot fewer spoons to actually do stuff and I am prioritising my ADHD coaching course and trying to maintain my mental health. I will be posting updates less frequently during this time.

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Published by roryreckons

I am an ADHD/Autism/OCD advocate and independent ADHD/Autism researcher. I am training in 2021 to become an ICF Accredited ADHD coach. I write mainly about ADHD/Autism/OCD/Mental health issues, but will also discuss morality, abolition, and current affairs occasionally.

One thought on “A list of things that are associated with Autism or ADHD – Pt 1 – Co-ordination and Vision

  1. I’m so happy to have found your blog. I’m recently diagnosed as having ADHD and am gradually getting to understand myself. Posts like this really help me. Thanks.

    Like

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