Date of Award


Degree Name

Master of Arts


Speech, Language and Hearing Sciences


Speech Pathology and Audiology

First Advisor

Sandra Glista

Second Advisor

Nickola Nelson

Access Setting

Masters Thesis-Open Access


The study of the use of toys with institutionalized adults began in the field of gerontological nursing (Bailey, Gilbert, & Herweyer, 1992; Francis & Baly, 1986; Mayers & Griffin, 1990; Milton & MacPhail, 1985). Hopper, Bayles, and Tomoeda (1998) described the comforting qualities of plush animals for people with dementia and began to explore the effects of these toys on the language production of women with Alzheimer's Disease. Women were found to produce more information in fewer words when the toys were present.

This study builds on the work of Hopper et al. (1998), comparing language productions of two men and two women with probable Alzheimer's Disease in a baseline condition using no stimuli and in an experimental condition which implemented either a toy car or dog. Subjects were asked identical questions in both baseline and experimental sessions. The number of words and information units produced was calculated.

The results of this study were inconclusive due to individual variations. The findings did not correlate with the results of the Hopper, et al. (1998) study. Qualitative, but not quantitative, gender-related differences were noted.