Youth with disabilities get some virtual social interaction thanks to Toronto rehab hospital
Measures to control the spread of COVID-19 have resulted in feelings of loneliness and isolation for many people in Canada, including teens. The staff at Holland Bloorview Kids Rehabilitation Hospital were concerned about the effects of isolation on their current and former clients, young people aged 15-21 who live with disabilities. So their youth advisory team has been hosting virtual hangouts each week, where participants can talk and interact with one another and have some fun. More than 100 youth have participated so far. Facilitators of the “Rec Room” hangouts run various games, including Name That Tune, Two Truths and a Lie, and Kahoot, a trivia game that apparently gets pretty competitive, according to youth leader Mathias Castaldo.
The team also hosts Netflix parties on Saturday nights, where youth can all watch a movie together virtually and then chat about it via a Zoom hangout. In future, Holland Bloorview is hoping to increase the size and reach of this programming to get more youth involved. All the virtual events are free for participants, as the programs are funded by the Stephanie Gaetz Foundation and donor Barbara Underhill.