Open Access
Cadely, Farlah Antonia
Graduate Program:
Communication Sciences and Disorders
Master of Science
Document Type:
Master Thesis
Date of Defense:
March 16, 2018
Committee Members:
  • Nicole Michele Etter, Thesis Advisor
  • Kristina A Neely, Committee Member
  • Carol Anne Miller, Committee Member
  • attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)
  • orofacial somatosensation
  • sensory processing
  • sensory under-responsivity
  • sensory over-responsivity
Individuals with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) have reported secondary symptoms such as speech problems, somatosensory impairments, and sensory processing deficits. Current research efforts to assess these symptoms have focused on children with ADHD. The purpose of this study was to investigate the relationship of these secondary symptoms in adults with ADHD compared to age-matched controls. Twenty adults with ADHD and 20 age-matched adults without ADHD were recruited for this study. All participants provided a speech sample, completed bilateral lip and tongue somatosensory assessments, and completed the Adult/Adolescent Sensory Profile (AASP). Differences between groups were assessed using independent t-tests. Although individuals with ADHD demonstrated increased reading time, decreased reading accuracy, and decreased tactile detection and discrimination abilities; none reached the level of significance. Adults with ADHD reported significantly more sensory under- and over-responsivity behaviors. Correlational analyses were used to assess the relationship between reading time and accuracy, 2-pt discrimination, tactile detection and discrimination, and prevalence of sensory under- and over-responsivity behaviors in adults with ADHD. Decreased two-point discrimination abilities in left tongue and right lip were correlated with the speech measures: passage time (r (40) = 0.333, p = .036) and passage errors made (r (40) = -0.317, p = .046), respectively. Sensory over-responsivity was correlated with two of the somatosensory measures: tactile detection left tongue (r (37) = 0.341, p = .039) and tactile discrimination right tongue (r (37) = 0.341, p = .039). These results suggest adults with ADHD over respond to stimuli as a result of decreased sensitivity.