Ep. 71: ADHD and Asperger Syndrome in Smart Kids with Dr. Thomas Brown

Mar 8, 2022 | 0 comments

Joining the conversation today is Dr. Thomas Brown, Director of the Brown Clinic for Attention and Related Disorders. Dr. Brown is also the author of several articles and books, but today we talk about his most recent book ADHD and Asperger Syndrome in Smart Kids and Adults

Listen to Dr. Brown as he describes common difficulties individuals with ADHD and Asperger Syndrome have and how it impacts them going into adulthood. In many situations that he has seen, children with Asperger Syndrome go unnoticed until middle school, high school, or even beyond as their level of intelligence is generally very high. As they get older, executive functioning and social demands increase and that’s where things might get challenging. This episode is about those struggles and helping these individuals better understand the world around them.


Show Notes:

[2:49] – Dr. Brown shares what inspired him to write his most recent book, ADHD and Asperger Syndrome in Smart Kids and Adults: Twelve Stories of Struggle, Support, and Treatment.

[4:01] – A common struggle for children and adults with ADHD and Asperger Syndrome is with socialization.

[5:09] – Dr. Brown believes the grouping of Asperger Syndrome with Autism is a disservice and notes the differences.

[6:24] – The executive functioning of those with ADHD and those with Asperger Syndrome have a lot of similarities.

[8:52] – Autism Spectrum Disorder is a very broad spectrum but Dr. Brown notes some of the differences in Asperger Syndrome.

[11:08] – Moving into middle school and high school makes things more difficult with executive functioning and social demands.

[13:12] – Many times, Asperger Syndrome is not detected in early elementary grade levels.

[15:24] – Another concern that Dr. Brown notes is regulating emotions.

[17:32] – Dr. Brown looks closely at executive functioning to understand the profile for each child he sees.

[19:30] – Dr. Brown gives an example of the complexity of ADHD.

[22:17] – The cognitive ability of individuals with Asperger Syndrome is very high.

[24:20] – Many times, they are not able to see someone else’s perspective.

[25:57] – In those with Asperger Syndrome, there is difficulty understanding how their interaction makes others feel.

[27:42] – Dr. Brown shares a story of a man who continued to lose his job to demonstrate how social struggles can manifest in adulthood.

[31:07] – Dr. Brown lists some of the noticeable social tendencies in early years.

[32:51] – Emotional regulation also impacts motivation in both positive and negative ways.

[34:47] – When Asperger Syndrome goes unnoticed until high school or even later, it can be difficult to deal with. Many times, individuals are praised for their intelligence but then struggle with other challenges.

[38:01] – Remember that it is not intentional when individuals say something hurtful.

[39:18] – While very intelligent, some individuals struggle with reading social cues.

[40:11] – Dr. Brown says to remember strengths and talents in treatment.


About Our Guest:

Thomas E. Brown earned his Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology at Yale University and then served on the clinical faculty of the Dept. of Psychiatry at Yale School of Medicine for 21 years while operating a clinic in CT for children and adults with ADHD and related problems. In May 2017, he relocated to California where he sees patients and directs the Brown Clinic for Attention and Related Disorders in Manhattan Beach, California. 

Dr. Brown has taught continuing medical education courses on ADHD for the American Psychiatric Association for 20 years and has given lectures and workshops in hospitals, medical schools, universities, and for professional and advocacy groups throughout the U.S. and in more than 40 other countries. He served as Adjunct Clinical Associate Professor of Psychiatry & Behavioral Sciences at the Keck School of Medicine of the University of Southern California and is an elected Fellow of the American Psychological Association and the Society for Child and Adolescent Psychology. 


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The Diverse Thinking Different Learning podcast is intended for informational purposes only and is not a substitute for medical or legal advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Additionally, the views and opinions expressed by the host and guests are not considered treatment and do not necessarily reflect those of ChildNEXUS, Inc or the host, Dr. Karen Wilson.