Authors: Murray LL, Dickerson S, Lichtenberger B, Cox C
Title: Effects of toy stimulation on the cognitive, communicative, and emotional functioning of adults in the middle stages of Alzheimer’s disease
Source: Journal of Communication Disorders 2003 36(2): 101-127
Year: 2003
Research Design: Case Series

Although several clinical reports describe the benefits of toy stimulation for dementia patients, there is little empirical support for this sensory stimulation approach. The purpose of this investigation was to examine the effects of toy stimulation on the language, cognition, and emotional state of patients in the middle stages of Alzheimer's disease (AD) during a formal testing situation. Eighteen patients completed a standardized test battery and picture description task twice, once with and once without a toy stimulus present. Three AD patients completed all tasks four times (twice with and twice without the toy) to examine performance consistency. Although some patients improved their performances in the presence of a toy, there were no significant group differences between the toy and no toy conditions for any experimental measure. Of the three patients who completed experimental tasks twice in the presence of a toy, two displayed some consistent improvements whereas the remaining patient's response pattern was variable. Caregiver feedback regarding toy stimulation was positive. Methodological limitations of the current study and suggestions for future research are discussed.

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