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I’m Autistic & Misdiagnosed with ADHD

All my life, I knew I was different. It showed with the way I thought, did things, and just knew certain information as common knowledge. People treated me like an encyclopedia, however, they never understood my behavioral patterns. Almost 14 years later, I now understand that I am autistic with autistic problems!

Where it All Started

I was informally and misdiagnosed diagnosed with ADHD; attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder. A caregiver gave me that diagnosis without any formal testing for ADHD. All it took was for them to ask a family doctor of 20+ years for an ADHD prescription. I didn’t really resonate with that diagnosis and was very conscious about it at a very young age. Growing older, I stopped taking the ADHD medication because I didn’t think I had ADHD. At the age of 22, I understand why there was a misdiagnosis of ADHD when my behaviors fell under Autism. Many people do not know the difference! AND are not aware that there are more diagnoses than ADHD.

What’s the Difference?

This is a Venn diagram of some ADHD and Autism differences with some overlapping similarities. Image found here.

This is How I Knew I Didn’t Have ADHD…

People with ADHD often have a hard time paying attention for an extended amount of time and may get distracted easily. Which wasn’t my issue. I had a limited scope of interest that didn’t show to be just one thing as it correlated with my academic performance in a positive way. It was the mask that greatly hid that I was autistic. My personal struggles with language also served as a mask that explained the negative impact of my reading scores. I only spoke Spanish but understood English when I came back from Puerto Rico in 2008. From my perspective, I was able to read the material and understand it. I just didn’t know how to write it down in English.

As a complex factor, another result of my impacted academic performance was how uninterested I was in reading certain things. I absolutely had no interest in reading anything besides ghost stories, Shakespeare plays, and/or poetry. When it came down to independent reading, I never read! SORRY MIDDLE/HIGH SCHOOL TEACHERS, but I was acting. I wasn’t the best actor and broke character a lot. It interpreted as ADHD because I would have rather looked outside than read something I didn’t have an interest in. That gave off that I was easily distracted.

This concludes the reason why I appeared to have ADHD and not Autism. But it doesn’t conclude this blog series!

– Dez 🙂