When Smart Children, Teens and Young Adults on the Autism Spectrum have ADHDAsk The Expert

Original Air Date February 15, 2023 | 8:00 PM, EST

Thomas E. Brown PhD

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More than half of individuals diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) also have ADHD. Yet often their ADHD is overlooked and not adequately treated, because many clinicians and educators recognize ASD but do not see ADHD. This is especially true for those children, teens, and young adults on the spectrum whose IQ is average or above average.

A Harvard study of 107 children and adolescents diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder found that 76% of those who had IQ scores within or above the average range also fully met diagnostic criteria for ADHD, but 41% of those youths had never received appropriate assessment or treatment for their ADHD. A study at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia demonstrated that children on the autism spectrum who exhibit symptoms of ADHD, even if they do not fully meet diagnostic criteria for ADHD, tend to have significantly more difficulty with adaptive behavior in school, home and community and tend to benefit from ADHD treatment.

In this Ask the Expert webinar, psychologist Thomas E. Brown will offer examples of children, teens, and young adults on the spectrum who have average or above average smarts and have ADHD. He will describe how such youths can be provided assessments and helpful treatment for ADHD. Dr. Brown is the author of ADHD and Asperger Syndrome in Smart Kids and Adults (Routledge, 2021).


Upon completion of this webinar, you will be able to:

  • List examples of children, teens, and young adults on the spectrum who have average or above-average smarts and have ADHD.
  • Describe how such youths can be provided with assessments and helpful treatment for ADHD.


Thomas E. Brown is a clinical psychologist who received his PhD from Yale University. He specializes in assessment and treatment of high-IQ children, adolescents, and adults with ADHD and related problems. For over thirty years, Dr. Brown maintained an independent clinical practice in Hamden, Connecticut. He also served as associate director of the Yale Clinic for Attention and Related Disorders from its inception until 2017. After serving on the clinical faculty of the Yale Medical School for twenty years, Dr. Brown resigned to accept an appointment as adjunct clinical associate professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at the Keck School of Medicine of the University of Southern California. The Brown Clinic for Attention and Related Disorders opened in Manhattan Beach, California, in June 2017.

In response to invitations, Dr. Brown has given lectures, workshops, or grand rounds at hospitals, medical schools, colleges and universities, independent schools, public school systems, and at advocacy, business, and professional groups throughout the United States. He has also presented workshops at international meetings of professionals in over forty countries. Dr. Brown’s research interests and publications include assessment and treatment of ADD/ADHD, especially in persons with high IQ; executive function and memory impairments in ADD; overlap of ADD and learning disorders, use of combined medications for ADD comorbidities, and problems of sleep and awakening in ADD.

Dr. Brown was inducted into the CHADD Hall of Fame for outstanding contributions to research and professional education about ADHD in children and adults. He also received an award of honor from the Attention Deficit Disorder Association and a Distinguished Professional award from the HELP Group in Los Angeles. He has also been elected a fellow of the American Psychological Association. He has published more than thirty scientific articles in professional journals and is author of the Brown Executive Function/Attention Rating Scales (formerly The Brown Attention Deficit Disorder Scales) published by The Psychological Corporation/Pearson. He is the author of six books and the editor for ADHD Comorbidities: Handbook for ADHD Complications in Children and Adults, a major text and reference work published by American Psychiatric Publishing

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