Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is a predominant neurobehavioral disorder of childhood with motor and sensory symptoms often persisting into adulthood. Motor control theories highlight the importance of the bidirectional relationship between sensation and movement for maintaining skilled behaviors like speech. The impact of ADHD on speech in adults has not been well established. The purpose of this study is to assess group differences in quantitative speech and oral somatosensory measures in adults with and without ADHD and to describe the relationship between ADHD symptomology and speech production. A total of 50 adults (18–26 years) were recruited and divided in two groups based on diagnosis: those with (n = 28) and those without (n = 22) ADHD. All participants provided a speech sample to measure articulatory accuracy and speech rate and completed quantitative point-pressure testing using tactile detection and discrimination on bilateral sites on the lower lip and lateral edge of the tongue tip. Independent t-tests corrected for multiple comparisons identified significant group differences using FDR corrected q values in speech production for correct syllables per second and overall speech rate (q<.05). Additionally, there were significant group differences (q<.05) for detection and discrimination threshold estimates at one testing location. Bivariate correlations identified a relationship between several speech measures and self-reported ADHD symptoms such that as symptom severity increased, speech accuracy for correct syllables per second decreased. Young adults with ADHD have subtle differences in speech production compared to non-ADHD control participants. Speech scientists might consider screening for ADHD when collecting normative data samples.
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