Date of Award

Winter 2014

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Ph.D.

Department

Psychology

First Advisor

Casey, Joseph E.

Keywords

Psychology, ADHD, Children, Fine motor control

Rights

CC BY-NC-ND 4.0

Abstract

Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is a neurodevelopmental disorder characterized by symptoms of inattention, hyperactivity impulsivity, or both. Although fine motor difficulties are frequently found in children diagnosed with ADHD, often they are not identified and are undertreated. The present study examined fine motor control in children with ADHD in several ways, including through the use of digitizing technology, and compared it to that of control children. Thirty-eight children with ADHD and 28 control children in grades four through eight were administered a measure of handwriting (Test of Handwriting Skills - Revised; THS-R), a pattern completion task (Repeated Patterns Test; RPT), and a measure of fine motor skills (Bruininks Oseretsky Test of Motor Proficiency - Second Edition; BOT-2) on a digitizing tablet. Groups were compared on peak vertical velocity, variability of peak vertical velocity, normalized jerk, and mean stylus pressure. Results of the present study indicated that better quality of writing was associated with slower writing speed in children with ADHD, whereas in control children better quality writing was associated with greater stylus pressure, slower writing speed, and less variability in writing speed. No group differences were found on either a measure of fluency or stylus pressure when examining children's writing between different levels of constraint. Both groups demonstrated the most fluent writing between 2 cm spaced lines, which appear to represent a level that facilitates the maximal amount of writing fluency in children in grades four through eight. Lastly, results indicated that there were no stylus pressure differences between groups for either novel or motorically complex material.

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