You will not find mention of “stuffed animal therapy” in medical journals. However, the value of stuffed animals is unmistakable.
Variously referred to as transitional, security, or attachment objects, stuffed animals can give children and adults emotional and tangible comfort especially during times of stress. As the geriatiric population ages, many experience cognitive as well as physical limitations. Their coping skills diminish, thus increasing anxiety and fear aggression in over-stimulating environments.
Patients afflicted with dementia, autism, and other cognitive disorders are key beneficiaries of this therapy. The calming effects and piece of mind provided by these lambs can be especially helpful when the patient or elderly recipient is separated from family. The lambs help the recipients deal with transitions from wakefulness to sleep and transitions from being with family members to being alone in their bed or residence unit.
Many patients and the elderly have precious little to distract them. Soft and cuddly, the lambs also allow the patient to show his autonomy or authority by pretending to lovingly care for their “friend”. The person develops a sense of purpose in their time of illness, recuperation, or aloneness.