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Sensory processing in Autism Spectrum Conditions and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)

  • Full or part time

    Dr T Stafford
  • Application Deadline
    Applications accepted all year round
  • Self-Funded PhD Students Only
    Self-Funded PhD Students Only

Project Description

Autism Spectrum Conditions (ASC) and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) are prevalent
neurodevelopmental conditions. Evidence suggests that both are characterised by differences in
sensory experience and sensory processing, and that there is a high level of co-occurrence between
the two conditions. This co-occurrence, coupled with differences in sensory processing in both cases,
raises the issue how distinct these disorders are – a critical question for diagnosis, treatment and
prognosis. The proposed project will investigate sensory processing in individuals with ADHD, ASD or
both, using a psychophysical approach and questionnaire measures. The project goal will be to
identify at what level in sensory processing complexity individuals with ASC and ADHD differ from
neurotypical individuals, whether these levels differ between the conditions, and if they do, how
fundamental differences in sensory processing engender higher level differences in sensory
experience. Determining areas of common and unique difference will give clues as to the shared and
distinct substrates underlying the conditions and help to answer the ultimate question of whether
ADHD and ASD can be considered to be two disorders or one.

Funding Notes

Self funded or externally funded applicant only. The University has no funding at this stage, the next competitive funding opens mid November for the next academic year. Please check the following webpages for information
View Website


Panagiotidi M, Overton PG, Stafford T. (2019) Co-occurrence of ASD and ADHD traits in an adult
population. Journal of Attention Disorders, 23, 1407-1415.
Panagiotidi M, Overton PG, Stafford T. (2018) The relationship between ADHD traits and sensory
sensitivity in the general population. Comprehensive Psychiatry, 80: 179-185.

How good is research at University of Sheffield in Psychology, Psychiatry and Neuroscience?

FTE Category A staff submitted: 34.45

Research output data provided by the Research Excellence Framework (REF)

Click here to see the results for all UK universities

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