I’m on a quest to better understand combined ADHD and Autism. After much frustration with the lack of written material on the matter (see my essay Where Are All of the Good Resources About Autism with ADHD?), I’m turning to YouTube.
There are many autistic ADHDers on YouTube that are sharing their lived experiences and trying to bring clarity to a difficult topic (if you want to understand why it’s so difficult, you can see my essay Where Are We With Our Understanding of Combined Autism and ADHD?).
Now, you may wonder why I didn’t start with YouTube in the first place. Simple answer: I hate watching videos. My preferred method of absorbing information is a combination of reading and kinesthetic. I want a book in my hand or a printed article where I can underline and write my thoughts in the margins. I want to be able to pause and digest new material as I read it. This is difficult in the YouTube medium … so this essay serves as a bit of that digesting.
Here are the 3 most recent videos that I found insightful on the matter:
I enjoyed that Sammy, the host who has both Autism and ADHD, discusses 5 signs that are distinct from typical discussions about characteristic overlap. My favorite sign was the last one she mentions - that you often relate better to people with autism and ADHD. This is something I’ve found to be true for myself. I many times have felt like I do not relate to autistic people. At the same time, I certainly don’t relate to neurotypicals, so where does this leave me?
When I meet a fellow AuDHDer, there is a different kind of resonance that feels natural. It’s hard to describe what it is, but it’s almost like we “get” each other and I can see myself in the other person.
This resonance is also one of the things that clues me into the fact that a new client I am working with might also be autistic with ADHD. It alerts my system to dig deeper into the matter.
Foster, the host of this show, methodically points out unique aspects of ADHD and autism. They clearly define common terms and experiences, while providing concrete, relatable examples.
I was also able to stick with this video (hey, a 9-minute video is long to me), due to Foster’s humor that was injected throughout. This ties back to Sammy’s point about being able to relate well to fellow AuDHDers.
One of Foster’s concluding ideas is to keep a list of free time activities. This point floored me - because I already do this. Hearing this suggestion and my accompanying feeling of, “Hey, I do that!” reminded me of when I first learned about autism. The more I dived into the interior experience of autism, the more I discovered things that I didn’t know were autistic. I found myself saying over and over again, “What?! That’s an autistic thing?!”
Ella, the autistic and ADHD video creator, acknowledges she cannot always tell which of her characteristics are autistic and which are ADHD. I love when people are straightforward about what they don’t know. It makes me feel automatically connected to the individual, given there are many things I also don’t know.
Despite her uncertainty, Ella moves forward with sharing some of her personal experiences as an AuDHDer. One that I think every fellow AuDHDer will relate to is her painful self-awareness and self-analysis. This is something that is very prominent for any client I have and impacts almost every part of their lives.
Ella continues to offer more personal examples and her level of emotional vulnerability enables her content to be relatable and refreshing. It dismantles shame as you find yourself nodding, “Ahh, I’ve thought that too!”
If there are more resources that you found helpful about AuDHD, please let me know in the comments.