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Isofriendships is a podcast that explores what social connection means for youth living with disabilities during the COVID-19 pandemic. Told through personal stories, interviews, and candid conversations, Holland Bloorview Youth Leaders share their experiences and insights with friendship in times of social isolation.

"I found the podcast to be very beneficial because it opened my eyes to what our lives are becoming during this pandemic.  It allowed me to make new connections virtually with people.  During the pandemic, it taught me how to quickly adapt from in person relationships to a virtual environment and relationship with people.  Making the podcast taught me how to use different technologies from home and how it sounds just as good as being in a recording studio." – Becca, Youth Leader

The views and opinions expressed in the Isofriendships podcasts represent the experiences of the narrator(s) of each episode and not representative of all individuals living with a disability.

Episode transcripts

Episode 1: COVID-19 & Relationships – by Alex

Isofriendships: COVID-19 & Relationships, by Alex

Dolly Menna-Dack: Isofriendships is a podcast that explores what social connection means for youth leaders living with disabilities during the COVID-19 pandemic. Through personal stories, interviews and candid conversations, youth leaders share their insight on friendship in times of social isolation.

(music)

Dolly Menna-Dack: I'm Dolly Menna-Dack clinical bioethicist and youth engagement strategy lead at Holland Bloorview Kids Rehabilitation Hospital, I invite you to enjoy Isofriendships, a podcast project brought to you by the youth leaders at Holland Bloorview Kids Rehabilitation Hospital.

Alex lives in Richmond Hill, Ontario and recorded her episode in her living room. Through a monologue, Alex explains how her relationships with family and friends have shifted because of the pandemic. Touching on mental health, zoom fatigue and sharing domestic space, Alex shares her hopes and dreams for the future.

(music)

Alex: Hi, I’m Alex. I live with both parents and my sisters and my niece. Well, my relationships have been different in that I don't get to see my family - like my relatives anymore, or as much as I used to. Because there are 6 of us living at home, we’re home all together in one little cramped condo with the exception of my father because he is an essential service worker. Most of us would be out during the day.

(traffic noises)

I would be at school, my sister would be at work, so it was just my mom and my older sister who has Down’s Syndrome. It's not the same. I’ve been doing more phone calls, more zoom calls and that’s been very interesting. And like, chatting on Facebook, and so on and so forth. It's challenging because I don’t get to see their face expressions. Going back to the question of how my life has been different during the pandemic, well, recently I had a death in the family. My mom wasn't able to go to the funeral because it was down in the states. It's been tough not being able to go out and have people interacting, but other than that I’ve been adapting well.

(music)

It's been very interesting, um, I mean before the pandemic, I really didn't use zoom because I had face-to-face interactions with them, with people, before. Now it's more zoom calls but now it's been a great opportunity for me to do zoom calls. Every Saturday I feel like I have to log on, “wait a minute, don’t I have a call today?!” And then I have to log off of my computer because I spend almost all of my day on my computer so I just take a break from my computer and such.

(outdoor noises, birds chirping)

I think going out for walks and spending time with my family - it really helps me. My mental health hasn’t been exactly great and my family has been really helping me with that. When I was doing my school work, I had to have my mom sit right next to me, helping me with my schoolwork, because it was too challenging and I couldn’t even focus.  

(kitchen noises)

It was too hard for me.

(kitchen noises)

I listen to music - music really helps me. Sometimes I would get together with my friends and we would have lunch.

(cafeteria noises)

I miss speaking to them. Yeah. My parents have been really supportive, my father less so. Because he has one set of values that I think he wants for me and my older sister. My mom has been very supportive of me. She’s my everything, she’s my rock. Yeah. We’re close but like we haven’t been close before, but now we are getting better at this. My mom and I are very similar in a lot of ways, in that we often butt heads a lot, and we’ve been actually doing some counselling to help with that. And I think that with the death of my uncle, it really helped us being close together.

When I talk with people and youth with disabilities, they don’t want to do a lot of stuff or like be in relationships. Like a lot of them that I’ve been in contact with in my community, a lot of them really don’t want to have really good relationships. I mean like I don’t know, but I’m assuming because like of their disability prevents them from that? But then again, I’m not sure. I think my biggest role model has been my older sister because she has shown me that I can get married and have a family, despite of my disability. Unfortunately, like I think, you know, my time is coming up very quickly because I’m 20 and I would like to get married before I’m 30. (chuckles).

(music)

Dolly Menna-Dack: The virtual engagement project has helped to address the impact of current COVID-19, homebound isolation on youth with disabilities while moving social interactions into a virtual realm is helping keep people connected during the current pandemic. Our team believes that harnessing the current trend towards virtual human connection can lead to expanded options for sustained connectivity for young people with disabilities.

Holland Bloorview Kids Rehabilitation Hospital creates a world of possibility by supporting children and youth living with disability, medical complexity, illness and injury. Holland Bloorview is a top 40 Canadian Research Hospital that is fully affiliated with the University of Toronto and serves over 8300 families annually, providing both inpatient and outpatient services Holland Bloorview is renowned for its expertise in partnering with clients and families to provide exceptional care.


Isofriendships was produced by Mary Anderson, technical production by Nick Dywelska.

Episode 2: Anticipation of the Green Light – by Becca

Isofriendships:  Anticipation of the Green Light, by Becca

Dolly Menna-Dack: Isofriendships is a podcast that explores what social connection means for youth leaders living with disabilities during the COVID-19 pandemic. Through personal stories, interviews and candid conversations, youth leaders share their insight on friendship in times of social isolation.

(music)

Dolly Menna-Dack: I'm Dolly Menna-Dack clinical bioethicist and youth engagement strategy lead at Holland Bloorview Kids Rehabilitation Hospital, I invite you to enjoy isofriendships, a podcast project brought to you by the youth leaders at Holland Bloorview Kids Rehabilitation Hospital. Becca lives in Georgetown, Ontario and captured her recording in her bedroom. Exploring human connections during quarantine, Becca makes a case that online friendships can be just as intimate and rewarding as the real life ones.

(music)

Becca: Humans have always craved social interactions, some, much more than others.

(music)

We are always looking for ways to connect and network with each other.

There are many social media platforms to create a new virtual friendship.

The internet is the only way to access social media platforms and apps.

A relationship can begin, develop and even sadly end all on social media

We no longer need that face-to-face interaction.

Here are some of the most popularly used Social medias on the internet.

  • WHATSAPP
  • FACEBOOK
  • TWITTER
  • INSTAGRAM
  • SNAPCHAT
  • YOU TUBE
  • TIKTOK

And the list goes on and on and on ...

Online friends are formed very differently than in-person friends.

We may have met them once in person, or on a social media network site, such as Twitter or you added them to your Facebook because they are friends with someone you know.

The best part of an online friend is that it’s someone you know who is available every time you see that little green dot next to their name.

You reach out and say “Hello”.

It is possible to have an online BEST friend who you’ve never met before in real life, but they keep you company, can take away stress, be a good listening ear to keep you sane.

There are many differences between an online friend and real life friend.

Real life friends can physically comfort you by giving you a big hug to make you feel better.

With a real life friend you can physical do things such as going for tea, having a meal, doing activities such as movies, watching sports, music events or just going to the mall to hang out.

A real friend can be there for you online and offline when you need them.

During this time of Quarantine during Covid-19, the new norm is online friendships.

(music)

Our lives have changed dramatically with the Covid-19 social distancing in a way we could have never imagined. Our lives are basically lived online now because we cannot have the real life connection anymore. Instead we are having meals with friends online, virtual game nights, participating or running help programs.

ZOOM is now a household name.

School is very much affected by this new virtual world.

Our education is now learned by virtual seminars, Zoom meetings and online course completion.

Sometimes people with a disability often feel uncomfortable with social interaction with other people because they may be afraid of the way they are looked at or perceived.

Being virtual, a person with a disability has less barriers and may be more comfortable interacting in the virtual world.

Other people may not even notice the other person has a disability.

Lastly, sometimes it’s hard when you have a physical disability to get together in person cuz a friend’s house may not be accessible to them.

As you can see from this podcast Virtual friendships can be as rewarding as a real life friendship.

Does everyone agree with me?

Dolly Menna-Dack: The virtual engagement project has helped to address the impact of current COVID-19, homebound isolation on youth with disabilities. While moving social interactions into a virtual realm is helping keep people connected during the current pandemic. Our team believes that harnessing the current trend towards virtual human connection can lead to expanded options for sustained connectivity for young people with disabilities.

Holland Bloorview Kids Rehabilitation Hospital creates a world of possibility by supporting children and youth living with disability, medical complexity, illness and injury. Holland Bloorview is a top 40 Canadian Research Hospital that is fully affiliated with the University of Toronto and serves over 8,300 families annually, providing both inpatient and outpatient services Holland Bloorview is renowned for its expertise in partnering with clients and families to provide exceptional care.


Isofriendships was produced by Mary Anderson, technical production by Nick Dywelska.

Episode 3: Friendship in the Age of COVID-19 - by Bianca

Isofriendships: Friendship in the Age of COVID-19, By Bianca

Dolly Menna-Dack: Isofriendships is a podcast that explores what social connection means for youth leaders living with disabilities during the COVID-19 pandemic. Through personal stories, interviews and candid conversations, youth leaders share their insight on friendship in times of social isolation.

(music)

Dolly Menna-Dack: I'm Dolly Menna-Dack clinical bioethicist and youth engagement strategy lead at Holland Bloorview Kids Rehabilitation Hospital, I invite you to enjoy isofriendships, a podcast project brought to you by the youth leaders at Holland Bloorview Kids Rehabilitation Hospital.

Bianca lives in Woodbridge, Ontario and recorded her episode in her basement. Bianca speaks candidly about her evolving friendships and talks about the many thoughts, fears and hopes she experiences particularly in relation to her health and well being.

(music)

Since we have to stay inside and cannot see our friends in person, a lot of us feel that it is difficult to maintain friendships.

(birds chirping)

But there are other ways of keeping those friendships. Some maybe just where you check up on them to see how they're doing. Others may be really close friendships where you tell them everything. We try and keep these friendships through social media.

For example, we can text them, we can FaceTime them, we can zoom chat them, we can Instagram them. We can talk on WhatsApp or we can Facebook them. 

My friends and I talk over text or WhatsApp and see each other's post to Facebook and Instagram.

But when we talk over zoom or FaceTime, we have to schedule our talks because either one of us is busy, or we have to find a space in our house where no one can hear and that can be very frustrating.

(sighs)

(music)

It is hard for me during this time in quarantine, because I cannot see my friends. Before quarantine started we were able to go out and talk face to face or go to movies, restaurants, or  just hang out. Now we have to talk over social media and the phone.

Whenever I had a problem, or I just had to talk to a friend, I could just call them up and say, Hey, I'm feeling down today, I need to go somewhere with you and talk. And we did. But now, I would have to call them and make sure they're free, and if I'm lucky, I get to talk to them about how I'm feeling

(music)

In general, my friends are there for me 100% of the time, whether it's a shoulder to cry on, or just to have fun and get my mind off things, but it is really difficult now, because we can't be physically there for each other. My boyfriend helps me a lot. Even when we can`t see each other in person, we text or FaceTime and do Netflix parties together. He talks to me and helps me when I'm feeling down. He gets me through my tough times, and by spending time with him, it allows me to calm down and just focus on him, and not my pain or anxiety or anything else. Yes, we do get in fights, and sometimes it seems like we're going to break up. But when we get into these fights, we stay clear of each other for a bit. And then when we've calmed down, we always talk about it. It helps knowing that we will never leave each other and that he is always there. He's very patient with me, and he doesn't know it, but that helps me a lot. I love you, Joel. (Joel: I love you too!)

Of course, my friendships have changed during COVID. For example, I can`t talk to them how I used to. And sometimes we hardly even talk anymore. Some don't even take the time to just call or text me and asked me how I am through this whole pandemic, I have come to realize who's really there for me and who isn't. There has been a lot of anxiety and fear around COVID and my general health. I have ulcerative colitis, and it got worse over time. The medication I'm taking isn't helping So as a result, I need to go on other medication to see if those will work. I'm kind of scared that they don't like spiral out of control.

(other speaker) Yeah, well, I would say that like your doctors, probably pretty knowledgeable about the condition. So I'm sure like, you know, when it comes to managing your colitis, like, I'm, I`m sure she knows, you know what the best possible solution is.

Bianca: Yeah.

(other speaker) And um, and yeah, like, I'm sure if you have any questions about, like, you know, different treatments and stuff, you could always talk to her about it.

Bianca: My iron stores are very low, so I am very weak. At times I can even get out of bed because I'm always tired. I have no motivation for anything right now. And I am very scared that my illness will get the best of me. My mood has shifted a lot. And I am always anxious and depressed. I know that it all worked out for the best, but I really do not have any hope right now. Day by day, I am trying to get better. And I know that I am a fighter so I can get through anything. It is just very difficult. My hope is that my health will all just get better and everything will go back to normal again.

(music)

Dolly Menna-Dack: The virtual engagement project has helped to address the impact of current COVID-19, homebound isolation on youth with disabilities while moving social interactions into a virtual realm is helping keep people connected during the current pandemic. Our team believes that harnessing the current trend towards virtual human connection can lead to expanded options for sustained connectivity for young people with disabilities.

Holland Bloorview Kids Rehabilitation Hospital creates a world of possibility by supporting children and youth living with disability, medical complexity, illness and injury. Holland Bloorview is a top 40 Canadian Research Hospital that is fully affiliated with the University of Toronto and serves over 8,300 families annually, providing both inpatient and outpatient services Holland Bloorview is renowned for its expertise in partnering with clients and families to provide exceptional care.


Isofriendships was produced by Mary Anderson, technical production by Nick Dywelska.

Episode 4: Virtual Hugs: Staying Socially Connected – by Emily and Sam

Isofriendships:  Virtual Hugs: Staying Socially Connected, by Emily & Sam

Dolly Menna-Dack: Isofriendships is a podcast that explores what social connection means for youth leaders living with disabilities during the COVID-19 pandemic. Through personal stories, interviews and candid conversations, youth leaders share their insight on friendship in times of social isolation.

(music)

Dolly Menna-Dack: I'm Dolly Menna-Dack clinical bioethicist and youth engagement strategy lead at Holland Bloorview Kids Rehabilitation Hospital, I invite you to enjoy isofriendships, a podcast project brought to you by the youth leaders at Holland Bloorview Kids Rehabilitation Hospital. Emily and Sam both live in Scarborough, Toronto and recorded their episode together over Zoom. Having been friends for over 10 years, Emily and Sam provide commentary on the pros and cons of using virtual platforms to maintain friendships.

(music) 

(background chatter from news report:…Lysol that she needs to fight off  rare disorder…army of volunteers and offer their services to help…hunt down disinfectant sprays…and get the story tonight from seven EYEWITNESS NEWS REPORTER)

Emily: Hello, everyone. I'm Emily.

Sam: I'm Sam.

Emily: And we've been friends for over 10 years. We met at Holland Bloorview and we just can't seem to get rid of each other. Actually fun fact, we went to the same elementary school and ended up in the same university. How fun is that?

Sam: I just can’t get rid of you.

Emily: I know. We've continued to stay connected through the many changes in our lives and, you know one of the most recent changes in the way that we stayed connected with each other is because of the pandemic that has forced us to maintain our friendships at a social distance.

Sam: The Coronavirus has forced people to change the way they interact with their friends and family. Instead of seeing people in person we have to interact over the phone, social media channels, FaceTime and Zoom calls.

(dialing sounds..ringing) 

Emily: So Sam, tell me, what are some of the positives of using technology to facilitate friendships during COVID?

Sam: I think one of the most positive aspects of using technology, specifically Zoom, I'll say is the amount of people that you could have on one call and in one space. I've been on multiple calls with both my friends and my family that have had up to 12 to 15 people on a call and just to see the amount of people in one space because we can't be there in person. And we would have had these meetings in person is nice, just because we can't right now and I don't know when we're going to be able to. A specific example that you would kind of note as well is Youth Advisory Council, like all of you guys, I considered to be my friends and you guys have all been kind of constants in my life for the for a long time. So Not to have that one meeting a month is weird just because it's a one time we see each other. And so to have it virtually, although is different, is nice to just see everybody again, in one space. So I think that's kind of the one positive aspect for me.

Emily: Yeah, I would totally agree. And just like, like you're saying, with virtual connection, you're able to gather a lot more people into one space. And, in a way it makes it easier to connect with multiple people like you're saying, so I would definitely agree with that. And was there anything else that you wanted to add?

Sam: Although different, and, I, trust me, I there's nothing I want more than to see everybody in person because I'm very, you know, social, and I like to talk a lot and I feel like I like hugging people is a thing for me as well. And so it doesn't take away from what could be done in person, but it's a good replacement for now. What about you, like what do you think is a positive?

Emily: Like you, I'm also able to connect a lot more with more people. And also some people that I haven't seen in a while, it's so easy to hop on a Zoom call, and just connect with people that are even halfway around the world. So in that way, it's been really a helpful tool for my family and I to use because I have family in Hong Kong. And, you know, we don't really talk too often and now that everyone is on zoom and suddenly knows how to use technology. It's really wonderful to be able to take advantage of that and talk to some of my relatives who I haven't seen in a while and catch up with them.

Sam: And that is something to that I have appreciated because my family and I are very close and as a collective, I'm a big family. And a lot of us are, you know, within within Toronto like, but we have a few that are like further in Canada or overseas. So it's nice to be able to see all of them in one room, which is something that hasn't really happened and a lot of years, so it's nice. And seeing everybody try to figure out Zoom is very funny. So it's become, like a sort of collective like, joke for a lot like how, how long is it going to take for us to figure out Zoom? Whether it be, why the camera's not working the sound so it's, it's a good connection point as well.

Emily: Yeah, totally. Um, it's so funny to see my aunts and uncles like, trying to figure out why nobody can hear them, but then they're very clearly on mute. But, you know, you don't want to tell them that and so super interesting is

Sam (interrupts): what?  You just watch them in silence for a long time?

Emily: yeah, exactly. And then I think another really interesting point is being able to catch up with people like back to back. So, you know, with Zoom meetings or whatever platform you're using, you can schedule multiple meetings throughout one day. Whereas when you're hanging out with people in person, you will usually spend a few hours with that one person or that one group of people, and then you've kind of reached your limit for the day, or at least that's what I have experienced. And then you don't really get to see the same quantity of people. So with technology and with our virtual space now, I've been able to connect with more people. And obviously that has had some downsides which we will touch on later, but for the most part, I can definitely say I've been increasing the quantity of people I've been connecting with.

(music)

Emily: You know, another thing too is we've also been more creative with how we spend our time. Because like I was saying earlier, when you're with a group of friends in person, you're either  going out to eat, watching a movie, and then eating more, you know, that's how that's how my friends are we

Sam (interrupts): I’m very similar to that like, but those are the things I enjoy. So not to be able to do that. You're like, what do we do?

Emily: Exactly. So I mean, you could just  set up your camera and watch each other eat, but that's kind of creepy. So one of the things that we've been doing actually is finding a lot more online games that we can play. So there's a game called code names. It's where there's a bunch of words on the table. And you have to give one word hints to your team. And they have to guess the words based on your hint. And there's an online version of that, too. So my friends and I have been loving playing that game. And we've also figured out how to watch movies together online. Whether it be through you know, that Netflix connection plug extension thing.

Sam: Netflix Party?

Emily: Thank you, yeah, Netflix party, or, you know, Disney party or whatever. We've been able to kind of emulate, going to the movies in person, but in a virtual space. So in that way, there's been some similarities with some of the things that we would typically do. At the same time, we're discovering so many more new creative ways to spend the time.

Sam: Everything that you said, I've done, I've used Netflix party, few times. I've really liked it. Sometimes I get lost in like the chat. Sometimes I'm like, Oh, I have to pay attention to the movie. But it's good because you still have that interaction, while still being able to sit comfortably in your own house and watch a movie. Do you think it's something that you could, would continue even after COVID? Like after we're allowed out of our houses and out of quarantine?

Emily: That's a really good question, and I think to a certain extent, yes. Because, one, it's free. Like we don't have to spend any money to do this stuff. And you know, as young adults, we're not balling, so

Sam (interrupts): so important.

Emily: Yeah, so you know, I've learned that you can have a good time with your friends and not have to spend lots of money, it, this is a shocker to me. But I know so I think it's something I will continue for the money aspect. Also because it's super easy to, you know, get a group of friends online at like 7pm. Whereas in person, you know, you have to arrange transportation.

Sam:  Oh, that's so

Emily: you know, the place you're gonna go, you might be too far for someone, they might not know how to get there. All that to say, I think there's a lot more variables when you're going out in person. Not to say that it wouldn't work if you planned it well, but you know, it's super easy to log into a computer and hop on a Zoom conference

Sam: So easy and so convenient. One thing that I thought about while you were talking earlier about conveniency and quantity of people you talk to, and the amount of variables you have to think about. I was thinking too, in terms of that, like you spend your day with like three, four people, because you have to think of traveling back and you're tired by the end of the day, whether it be four o'clock, five o'clock, 10 o'clock, and you're like, I'm just so tired, I don’t want to do anything anymore. What I'm thinking in terms of positives, it's just because you can do everything from home, which is a lot of energy conservation. Is it which is good, which I feel like it's also a positive.

Emily: Oh, totally. Yeah. And, you know, you can hang out with your friends for two hours and still do housework after that, you know, or whatever you want to do around the house and you don't come home like you're saying at 10pm or, you know, 3am in some cases, and you're like, Okay, it's time to go to bed, but with online hangouts, you can have the flexibility to do a lot more with your time.

(ringing)

Sam: Now that we've talked about the positives, what's the flip side? What are the, what do you see as the negatives? The difficulties?

Emily: Mm hmm. It's a good question. So there's one that immediately comes to mind, which is like Zoom fatigue. And there's a lot more research that has been done on the topic, but I didn't think that it was a thing until I actually like experienced it. For those who don't know, Zoom fatigue is when you've been on like a video call or a Zoom call for so long, that you start to get tired and exhausted. I didn't realize that until after I would be done my meetings, but I was in like a three hour conversation with my friend. And by the end of it, I wasn't being coherent anymore. She was lying on her bed, I had my head rested on my arm and then we were, we realized that we weren't just making sense anymore. So I'm just saying, okay, maybe it's time to stop the call. And after I closed my laptop, I was like, wow, I am really tired, like, more than I would normally be. So that's definitely one major downside.

Sam: I've definitely experienced that. For example, there was a day where we had Youth Advisory. And then we had Koffler and then we had Youth Advisory and then I had another volunteer thing, which I love being busy. Feel free to schedule me all you want. But being on three Zoom calls, all together like that. It was a lot. I didn't have a break like it was, again. Thank you for making me busy. I will never say no. But after that, like I finished at 430 and I literally napped for half an hour.

Emily: Oh, yeah, I'm sure. I think, (Sam: yeah), you make a good kind of link, wanting to be busy. But then almost not knowing when too much is too much. You know,

Sam: that's what I've learned too, is like, because we're all new to this technological world. It's like we don't know what makes us tired. We don't know what frustrates us a lot yet, because we haven't used it all that much.

(music interlude) 

When COVID started, I was like, What am I gonna do? Am I gonna still have things to do? Like I'm still working but like am I still gonna have volunteer opportunities? Like I was a question for me, I was like, are we running things as normal? Because I know we aren't, but are things gonna still come up? It comes at the expense of sometimes I'm tired.

Emily: Yeah, and it's interesting. You mentioned how we're still very new to communicating in this way. Cuz another challenge that I found is just in navigating, um,  technological issues. So I tried to watch a movie on Zoom with some friends and it didn't work out cuz somebody had bad Internet, and we were trying to view it on her computer. And it wasn't projecting the sound. And we tried for like half an hour to figure out what the problem was, and so we just had to end up loading up Netflix together and hitting play at the same time. It wasn't ideal, but it still worked out in the end. So technology issues, definitely another big challenge.

Sam: I have a similar story in the fact of like, signal is the worst sometimes

(ringing)

(person sighing)

poor connection notices on my phone and unstable internet connection are like the bane of my existence. Oh, let me tell you, because it's not the, it's not just the waiting part. The poor connection obviously affects the video quality and the voice quality so we just get frustrated, like what are you trying to say? Like, I'm not understanding what you're saying. It's not so much the poor connection it's that affects everything else.

Emily: and it also interrupts your conversation too

Sam: that is the most difficult part for me is just dealing with the internet connection because that's not on me. Yeah, something I can't control, but yet I have to deal with because we're in the times of COVID.

Emily: You know, when you're texting someone, that's a totally different experience than when you're facetiming someone, cuz at least when you're facetiming them, you can see their, their expressions on their face and stuff like that, right? But when it comes to texting, you don't know in what, like, tone of voice, that text message is being sent in. And sometimes, at least for me, I will tend to negatively interpret a message if it's vague, you know,

Sam: Absolutely. Like I that that something for me too. It's like, I'm one to second guess, and overthink a lot. I'm like, this could have three meanings. Positive, negative, and maybe like, I need to see someone face to really read the messaging. I overthink a lot. So, which is, you know, a flaw on my part sometimes because I don't need to. It's just something I do. And then there's only so many emojis  you convey messaging. (Emily:  Yeah, sure). Smiley face, kissy face, hearts, like I use. Those are my most used emojis, but there's only so many times you can use it. (Emily: that’s right).  So I totally agree in terms of texting versus like video call. I prefer video call (Emily: for sure) just because you see their faces and I'm not going to speak for you, but I think we're both big on social interaction in terms of seeing people in person.

Emily: I think so, yeah,

Sam: My last question would be what do you think you learned using technology through all this pandemic to maintain friendships?

Emily: It’s a good question. And I think one of the main lessons I've learned is, you have to be intentional with your friendships. And that you need to really plan who you're going to talk to, at what time and in a way, friendships online take more effort than they do in person. (Sam: Definitely). And I don't know if you feel the same way, but I certainly do.

Sam: Yeah, I definitely agree. What I learned is like both parties really have to be willing to either hop on a call or text constantly so we don't like lose touch.

(typing on keyboard)

It really does take work because you have to like be willing to sign on to a Zoom call or take an hour out of your day to hop on another video call or something. So that's what I learned to reiterate what you said, it's it's more intentional and it really does take time, both parties have to be willing to work because then it's not going to work. You can't.

Emily: mm-hmm. So true. Was there…yeah, that was everything from me. Was there anything else that you wanted to share?

Sam: I think that's everything for me. I think we've had a very good conversation.

Emily: Yeah, I would agree. I think we've touched on a lot of different points. And yeah, this has been a really great

Sam: Thanks for having the conversation with me.

Emily: You too Sam.

(music) 

Dolly Menna-Dack: The virtual engagement project has helped to address the impact of current COVID-19, homebound isolation on youth with disabilities while moving social interactions into a virtual realm is helping keep people connected during the current pandemic. Our team believes that harnessing the current trend towards virtual human connection can lead to expanded options for sustained connectivity for young people with disabilities.

Holland Bloorview Kids Rehabilitation Hospital creates a world of possibility by supporting children and youth living with disability, medical complexity, illness and injury. Holland Bloorview is a top 40 Canadian Research Hospital that is fully affiliated with the University of Toronto and serves over 8300 families annually, providing both inpatient and outpatient services Holland Bloorview is renowned for its expertise in partnering with clients and families to provide exceptional care.


Isofriendships was produced by Mary Anderson, technical production by Nick Dywelska.

Episode 5: Navigating A New Life – by Maria

Isofriendships:  Navigating A New Life, By Maria

Dolly Menna-Dack: Isofriendships is a podcast that explores what social connection means for youth leaders living with disabilities during the COVID-19 pandemic. Through personal stories, interviews and candid conversations, youth leaders share their insight on friendship in times of social isolation.

(music)

Dolly Menna-Dack: I'm Dolly Menna-Dack clinical bioethicist and youth engagement strategy lead at Holland Bloorview Kids Rehabilitation Hospital. I invite you to enjoy isofriendships, a podcast project brought to you by the youth leaders at Holland Bloorview Kids Rehabilitation Hospital. Maria lives in Markham, Ontario and captured her recording in her bedroom discussing the politics of living with a disability during the COVID-19 pandemic. Maria offers sound advice on battling lonely Maintaining connections and practicing self-care.

(music)

Maria: Hi, everyone, my name is Maria. I'm 19 years old, I live in Markham Ontario, and I’m a third year business student in college. This is my last year of school and I'm so excited. However, I don't know if I'm gonna spend my last year of school, at school or on Zoom.

(laughs)

Something I've been thinking about a lot lately being at home.

Speaking of being at home, today's topic is going to be centered around loneliness, and what being lonely has looked like for me during quarantine and COVID-19 being stuck at home, and just this new life that I'm being introduced to. So I hope you enjoy!

(music)

Let me set the scenario for you: So I'm at home working full time with Capital One on the diversity and inclusion team and I love my job. I get to work at home and do all these things I'm passionate about, like working on diversity and inclusion helping create this company in HR, that values diversity, and I get to put in my own lived experience, you know, as a first generation immigrant child with a physical disability. That's a mouthful (chuckles). I'm also taking summer courses to catch up on some of my schoolwork because I'm a little behind. And, aside from that, I don't really have much to complain about, you know, I mean, like I do miss my friends. I do miss all the summer plans we had going, I miss going to concerts and music festivals and shopping and seeing movies and getting my nails done and just doing all the things I love doing in the summer. So I can't complain about like problems I guess, because a lot of my problems are surrounding my happiness which were those things and activities that I just listed however, not doing those things isn't, it's not the end of the world you know, the mall will reopen one day, the cinema will reopen. My nails are not going to fall off my fingers. I’ll still get to do all these things that I really like and really enjoy. Soon. However, patience is not easy. You know, it's, it's easy for me to say right now. Yeah, I can go to the mall later. I can get my nails done later. I can see my girlfriend's later. It's easy to say. But I do have to say it takes a little bit of mental toll on me when I open up my Instagram, or my snapchat and I see you know, my high school alumni who are able bodied or people from my college who are able bodied, all kind of going out and pretending like you know, Corona doesn't exist and that we're not all trying to quarantine right now. When I see these like pictures videos are everyone pretending nothing is going on, it makes me feel like that one kid in the group project who does all the work, but put everyone's name down on the paper just for peace sake. You know, I kind of feel like I'm putting in all this weight to, like, you know, behave and stay home because I want to be able to go out eventually I want to be able to get back to my life and my youth. But if we don't put a team effort into this, it's not gonna work. And it can get frustrating sometimes. And then,  obviously, this is coming from a place of privilege. I get to stay home and work from home. I get to stay home and study from home. I get to stay home and play my Nintendo Switch all day. Like I don't have obligations, right. I'm not talking about people who are leaving their house to pay their bills. Like that's different. I'm talking about people who are having picnics in Central Park acting like nothing's happening. I'm talking about people who are going to the beach and pretending that quarantine is over. If you catch the virus, you're gonna cry about it, but you didn’t follow the rules, So.. I don't know what you want me to do there, that's on you. (chuckles)

As a person with a physical disability, I'm constantly advocating for things not to be ablest, for people to understand and see where I'm coming from.  And now that Corona is here and everyone has sort of like, essentially on temporary disability, it's, it's crazy to see how much people can't withstand staying home, can't withstand wearing a mask, can't swallow the fact that not every healthcare professional cares about you. These are things that I've dealt with since the day I was born and up until now. So it's like, t hat's hard. And then also just like, sometimes I think about like, okay, when the world opens up to everybody again, like, when is it going to open up to me? You know, I'm thankful to say that I'm not immunocompromised. But it's still risky for me to go out when the world opens up because I don't know what that's gonna look like. You know, whatever my service is gonna look like that support me. What? Like, what's my school that I look like? What if my school opens up because the world is ready, but I'm not ready? Am I gonna lose my opportunity to be educated? Am I gonna lose job opportunities? Am I not going to graduate this year? Like I said, I would. I'm really stressed about how when the world opens up, is disability gonna be forgotten? Not everyone is, you know, in a privileged position like I am. Some people are immunocompromised, some people might have to get the alleged shot when it comes out. You know, there's so many, like aspects and attributes of disability that I feel like people are gonna just forget when the world opens up. And they're just going to look at the minority of people with disabilities that don't have as severe and take them as the model image and be like, Well, why can't you be like them? No two snowflakes are alike, right? You can't put all of us in one basket and say, Well, if Maria can do it, why can't you?  Well, I'm different than somebody else, right? So that's something I'm really stressed about. It's like when the world and the gates open up and we're no longer in jail, like, when is my bail you know, when am I going to get out?

(music)

Well, now that there's no snow on the ground and I can actually go outside in my chair. I've been spending a lot of time with my mom and my younger sister taking walks like just around the block.

(outdoor noises)

Yeah...It's really refreshing to like feel some wind on my face after being locked in my house from March. I only started going outside I think in the middle of May, so it was like a month and a half or so just being home. So I remember the first time going outside, I felt so liberating. I was like, I'm free. I'm doing something illegal. You know, I'm allowed to take walks. And it's just nice, I can connect with my mom and like, I feel like I can I get to know her better, even though like we're super close, but I have time to connect with her.

(muffled speaking in another language, out door noises)

(FaceTime ringing)

I've been on a lot of long FaceTime calls with my friends or Zoom calls, and we just sit there and talk for hours and hours as if we haven't talked for years, because that's what it feels like. You know, we'll have Netflix parties, I've started watching the show called Shitts Creek. It's so funny,  I am just getting into it and I already love it so much (chuckles). And even picked up some new hobbies like, I used to love gaming when I was a kid and then I stopped in high school because it wasn't cool anymore (chuckles).

(game music) 

But now that I have free time, I'm like I bought a Nintendo Switch, I've been playing games with my friends. And it's just given me like a little like throwback, like a better sense of positivity that now that I have some free time here and there when I'm not working or studying, I can do the things that I like doing in my hobbies and stuff like that. I’ve also made an absurd amount of cupcakes. Too many cupcakes in my house but, I'm not complaining.

(music)

I deal with anxiety sometimes like throughout the school year and like, just throughout my busy life but being at home has really helped me like, calm down (chuckles) and just kind of ground myself.  I've had time to connect with my religion and you know, take that time to find some inner peace in myself. I've had time to even just look out for my body; you know, when you're so busy day to day like forget to eat you forget to take your vitamins you forget to like, have your seven? Eight? servings of fruits and vegetables or whatever it is. But I've actually taken time to like physically and mentally take care of myself so much more.  Mentally I'm like, I am stressed with like, external stuff, but like, the stress isn't as heightened and I feel more like oh yeah, I'm stressed but it's okay because like I know how to combat this and I know how to work through this to ensure that my stress levels don't get too high. But in the school year, I was stressed, oh my god, the world was ending. And I couldn't even calm myself down. So I think having like, the luxury of free time at home, has really helped my mental health a lot. And I feel like a lot more secure and happy with my choices, and my decisions. And you know, I just feel more better about myself in general and the path I want to take on my life. Like I said before, I think I'm in a really privileged position where I have such great friends that you know, understand that, you know, I can't really get out of the house right now, I can't really do much right now. And if we do meet up, it's gotta be at a six feet distance and blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. So I'm really lucky that I have this supportive system, whether it's at home, whether it's in my friend group where they all like they get it and they're not leaning on me like, Oh, just come outside or just do this or just do that. It's okay. They're super understanding, and I've always grown up with like one of the best friend groups that really understand my disability and really try to be there for me, instead of, you know, making it about them and just making it about them trying to process it, I don't even know what that means. But I've heard it before. And you know, I know not everyone is in that lucky position of like, having great friend groups or having people who really understand you and really get you. But I guess like my advice to you is that you know, you are super deserving of a great friend group, you're really deserving and people who love, care, and appreciate you whether it's with your disability or not, and aside from your disability, you still are a person you still are a human being, you know, and like as much as it feels like oh, like I'm so alone right now, like I have nobody, you're really not alone because the entire world or most of the world feels the same way as we do. And there is always someone out there you'll go through your contact list, go through your Instagram dms, like there's always someone that was more than happy to connect with you and speak with you and just be there for you, you know, reconnect with that old friend you have from primary school that you maybe stopped talking to because you guys just like got busy or reconnect with a family member who you haven't spoken to in a while, like, there's always someone out there that is, you know, willing to talk to you and be there for you. Because, you know, everyone kind of needs each other right now and I feel like the more you alienate yourself and try to not normalize you're, you're struggling right now. We'll make things more hard. So just normalize and accept your pain and your struggle and just remember that there's like always somebody there to listen, there's always somebody there to be there for you.

(music)

I didn't always have like everything that I do now. I didn't have this voice like three years ago; I couldn't even look myself in the mirror willingly, I would hate it. I couldn't speak in public. I was the most shy like quiet person ever. Like taking care of yourself and acknowledging like your pain and struggle is okay. Normalize your feelings and normalize your thoughts that I'm going through right now because everyone is kind of going through something whether they want to show it or not. We all like to act so tough and so strong like, yeah, I'm fine, I'm fine. But like, are you really fine? Check-in with yourself and use this valuable time that you have to take care of yourself and be there for yourself and try to work on things that you didn't have time to before that you always would say I don’t have time, I don't have time -  you have time now. Take advantage of it. Do what you need to do to repair yourself and take care of yourself and be there for yourself and check in with others to you know, you never know what else someone else is going through. And you can maybe be their biggest support and you would have no idea simple things like asking how is your day going? What are you up to? Or, what are you reading? What are you watching? Like these things make a big difference for people and you really never know who you're going to help or just be there for, not even help, but just be there for as a friend as a support so, don't doubt yourself too much and just like take your voice as something super valuable because I'm sure so many people wish they could have the voice that you get.

Oh, if I ran this country it would look so different!

Dolly Menna-Dack: The virtual engagement project has helped to address the impact of current COVID-19, homebound isolation on youth with disabilities while moving social interactions into a virtual realm is helping keep people connected during the current pandemic. Our team believes that harnessing the current trend towards virtual human connection can lead to expanded options for sustained connectivity for young people with disabilities.

Holland Bloorview Kids Rehabilitation Hospital creates a world of possibility by supporting children and youth living with disability, medical complexity, illness and injury. Holland Bloorview is a top 40 Canadian Research Hospital that is fully affiliated with the University of Toronto and serves over 8,300 families annually, providing both inpatient and outpatient services Holland Bloorview is renowned for its expertise in partnering with clients and families to provide exceptional care. 


Isofriendships was produced by Mary Anderson, technical production by Nick Dywelska.

Episode 6: A Letter to My Younger Self – by Nikky

Isofriendships: A Letter to my Younger Self, by Nikky

Dolly Menna-Dack: Isofriendships is a podcast that explores what social connection means for youth leaders living with disabilities during the COVID-19 pandemic. Through personal stories, interviews and candid conversations, youth leaders share their insight on friendship in times of social isolation.

(music)

Dolly Menna-Dack: I'm Dolly Menna-Dack clinical bioethicist and youth engagement strategy lead at Holland Bloorview Kids Rehabilitation Hospital, I invite you to enjoy isofriendships, a podcast project brought to you by the youth leaders at Holland Bloorview Kids Rehabilitation Hospital.

Nikky lives in Whitby, Ontario and recorded her episode in her bedroom. Reflecting on the life-long journey of friendships, Nikky wrote a letter to herself - her younger self - but from the wisdom of a Fairy Godmother.

(music)

Nikky: During this COVID-19 pandemic I had some time to really reflect on the importance of friendship. For this episode I decided that I wanted write a letter to my younger self about the topic of friendship. I wrote this letter kind of like fairy god mother who wants to share her years of wisdom to her younger self.

Dear Nikky,

I was asked to write a letter about friendship. After much anxiety I choose to write down my

thoughts. The thing, is friendship are tough. One thing that I know is true is that friendships play such an

integral part of the milestones within your life. Like your first heart break. Or when you plan a 12-hour

road trip to New York with your best friend. (traffic noises) There are so many special moments in your life that have new meanings when you have friends to share them with.

It’s interesting how a new friend enters your life and they fit into your life like a puzzle piece, almost like they were always supposed to be there. It’s as if some higher power made sure they placed someone in your life for a specific reason.

(music)

One thing you should know is that not all your friends will stay along for the ride. Some will begin the journey and decided to part ways when they see fit. Please remember that ok! When they decided to leave don’t try to convince them to stay or even try to force them out. My advice would be let nature take its course. There always is reason why someone is in your life and the mystery of life doesn’t always make it apparent, but it will eventually make sense.

Similarly, there are some causal friends that don’t always get the credit they deserve. Like your neighbors, school and work friends. These people are not necessarailyy the people that you tell your deepest darkest secrets too, but they are also a part of the friendship journey. Many times, it is these people that hear about a good and bad days but they also help us grow as people. They can act as beacons of light along your journey.

How could I be a friend to myself? Sounds silly, right? But the reality is no one knows you better than yourself. All the wonderful experiences and not so great ones are a part of your life story which act as road map to becoming who you are. Take the time to get to know yourself and nurture the inner friend whether its taking some time and meditate or going for a walk by yourself. Really get to know yourself. To some this may seem lonesome, but I promise you that you`ll get to know yourself better and this will impact all your relationships in the future.  When you get to know yourself you get to learn the values that are important to you and again this shapes the people that you let into your life. Also, through self-reflection you’ll learn how boundaries work. I won’t go too deep into that because I could write a whole novel on  that but just know you have to set rules for the things you`re willing to accept and not willing to accept into your life.

But before I go off on a rant never underestimate the value of your inner self.

Before this letter gets to long I want to wrap things up by letting you know friendships are a necessary part of your life. They will sometimes bring joy or sadness but know at the end of the day they all have a purpose. As I said earlier, not  all friends will be along for the long haul but that is the true essence of friendships. Friends will evolve  in your life but please remember to love yourself and value yourself  take all the time necessary to get to know yourself because you are amazing.

With Love,

Your Fairy Godmother

Dolly Menna-Dack: The virtual engagement project has helped to address the impact of current COVID-19, homebound isolation on youth with disabilities while moving social interactions into a virtual realm is helping keep people connected during the current pandemic. Our team believes that harnessing the current trend towards virtual human connection can lead to expanded options for sustained connectivity for young people with disabilities.

Holland Bloorview Kids Rehabilitation Hospital creates a world of possibility by supporting children and youth living with disability, medical complexity, illness and injury. Holland Bloorview is a top 40 Canadian Research Hospital that is fully affiliated with the University of Toronto and serves over 8,300 families annually, providing both inpatient and outpatient services Holland Bloorview is renowned for its expertise in partnering with clients and families to provide exceptional care. 


Isofriendships was produced by Mary Anderson, technical production by Nick Dywelska.

Episode 7: The Quarantine Oracle – by Tai

Isofriendships:  The Quarantine Oracle, by Tai

Dolly Menna-Dack: Isofriendships is a podcast that explores what social connection means for youth leaders living with disabilities during the COVID- 19 pandemic. Through personal stories, interviews and candid conversations, youth leaders share their insight on friendship in times of social isolation.

(music)

Dolly Menna-Dack: I'm Dolly Menna-Dack, Clinical Bioethicist and youth engagement strategy lead at Holland Bloorview Kids rehabilitation hospital, I invite you to enjoy isofriendships a podcast project brought to you by the youth leaders at Holland Bloorview Kids Rehabilitation Hospital. Tai lives in Markham, Ontario and captured his recording in his bedroom. A passionate reader of Oracle cards tie offers some much needed light and guidance on living in today's challenging world.

Tai lives in Markham, Ontario and captured his recording in his bedroom. A passionate reader of oracle cards, Tai offers some much needed light and guidance on living in today’s challenging world.

(bell…scraping sounds, papers moving)

Tai: Hey there, welcome to my podcast. I'm just your average 16 year old guy who uses a wheelchair, is an Aquarius, and also a drama student. Today I'm going to be talking to you about how I deal with all the craziness that is life in 2020. (music) 2020 has been a rough year. I think we can all agree with that. It has not been easy. There's been horrible, horrible news in the news. There's been tragedy, there's been pandemics, killer bees, it just doesn't end. And what's important is that people find their own ways to be able to acknowledge these things and deal with them because it can really affect people. So I'm going to share with you how I cope and how I get through these crazy challenging times. Now some people may use religion and that's amazing. These things are super important to help us find peace and help us be able to accept what's going on in the world. For me, I'm very spiritual. So I use things like Oracle cards. You may be wondering, what's an Oracle card? Well, an Oracle card is almost like Tarot, but it's not the same thing. Oracle cards give you a broader version and little pieces of the puzzle to help you figure out what's going on and to give you some insight into specific situations. I haven't really read Tarot, I believe, you know, it's it's a very complicated thing. And Oracle is a little bit easier to grasp for me, especially at my age. So that's kind of what I do to help me. Now I was thinking of pulling a few cards today just to take a look and see what the cards have to say, to hopefully spread some messages of hope and talk about what's going on in the pandemic. So before every Oracle card reading, I like to take out a lighter, my abalone shell and some Herbs to burn. I burn these so that I can cleanse the area around me. And you know, just take a moment to relax and feel calm. So we're going to do that now actually, I'm going to take some of the herb bundle and light it.

(lighter noise, burning noise)

Tai: Now there's a bunch of smoke all around which I like to put around me and also run my cards through because I think that is a very important thing to make sure everything is feeling cleansed and good.

Next, I like to take my singing bowl and make some sounds so that I can cleanse my room and also me

(singing bowl)

When doing things like readings, it's really important to have a good mindset before and be very relaxed. So before I started this, I actually did a really quick meditation just to relax myself and be able to be as calm as possible. So what I'm going to do is I'm going to take out my cards, and I'm just going to shuffle them a little bit.

(shuffling noise)

Just taking deep breaths is really important as well. So now that I'm ready, I'm going to select a card

And another.

And another.

Now that I have three cards, one by one, I'm going to flip them and we're going to take a look and see what we got.

So the first card that I pulled was the creator.

In this card, there's a picture of hand holding a paintbrush creating something. Around it there's bright colors a big pop, and it almost appears that this hand is floating in a bubble of some sort of universe of art around them. The next card that I pulled was the desert. Within this image, it appears as if there is one hand praying towards the moon in the sky. The sky is red and the ground around them is many dots creating an almost sandy-like image, and the third card that I pulled is the comic. This is really amazing because I've actually done a few readings during this quarantine and the desert has shown up in almost every one of them, as well as the comic. Now the Creator is new. So I'm gonna have to read into that to understand what that means. But for now, let's look at the desert and the comic. The desert appears to be like I said, two hands alone looking for some sort of salvation. I think we all feel like we're trapped in some Sandy Dune that we're never going to be able to get out of. So whatever faith you look to, you are looking to that to give you support and help you. I know for me, I definitely fall back on my cards and my spirituality to guide me and give me a hand through some of these tricky times. This is a really powerful card. I feel like it embodies quarantine it embodies the feeling of isolation and separation. And that's really beautiful that I pulled that. Now the next card is the comic. This card I have seen a few times, and it's always been really tricky to understand what exactly this card is telling me. But from what I can gather and guess is that humor is an extremely important part of life, and being able to have a good time. And I think that if people can find the light and find the fun in some of these bad situations, we can make the most of it. And you know, this can actually lead back to the first card, the creator, the creator, saying that we can create art just like this podcast, we can create things that express our emotions and share how we feel to people. Sometimes when I am very deep in emotion, and overthinking things I like to write, I like to write my feelings down and get everything out so that I can look at it from a different perspective. And I know that that really helps me. So sometimes creating art can be the best way to acknowledge how we're feeling and work around that.

(music)

Something that often helps me understand what these cards mean is by taking out the provided book within each of the decks and looking for the card which gives another explanation of other possible meanings that it could be. So I'm going to open up the book, and we're going to skip to the page of the Creator, and we're going to take a look and see what exactly that's telling us. If I can find it.  (reading from book)The Creator, the artist, the alchemist, the innovator. After scanning the artists’ opinion on what the card of creator means, I have learned that the Creator is an important part of creation, of course, and also being able to connect with whatever higher power we believe in being able to feel that peace I guess you can say, this is a really beautiful reading. And I'm so glad that I was able to pull all these cards with you right now, if I were to give you some advice based on what these cards are telling me, I would have to say that, you know, I think if you have a piece of art of any kind, maybe you like writing, maybe you like drawing, maybe you like painting, all of these things are great examples of creating something. Use that to express yourself, use that to help you get out there and express your feelings. The desert, we may be stuck, we may be looking for some kind of salvation, and we may feel like we're lost and we just want to be saved. And you know what? There's a world around us of people that we can connect with, and that we can talk to, to help us through these issues. Reach out, go on to social media, and talk to people because your friends and the people that really care about you are just one click away, I promise. And finally, the comic. Life is nothing without some fun. Try to find like the creator, things you enjoy, and just do it. Just don't have any regrets, and live your life the best that you can. Because, you know, life is short. We don't know how long we have. And we don't know how long we're going to be able to enjoy life on this amazing Earth. So make every moment of it as great as you can. Thank you so much for listening, and I hope you have an amazing day.

(music)

Dolly Menna-Dack: The virtual engagement project has helped to address the impact of current COVID-19 homebound isolation on youth with disabilities. While moving social interactions into a virtual realm is helping keep people connected during the current pandemic. Our team believes that harnessing the current trend towards virtual human connection can lead to expanded options for sustained connectivity for young people with disabilities.

Holland Bloorview Kids Rehabilitation Hospital creates a world of possibility by supporting children and youth living with disability, medical complexity, illness and injury. Holland Bloorview is a top 40 Canadian Research Hospital that is fully affiliated with the University of Toronto, and serves over 8,300 families annually, providing both inpatient and outpatient services Holland Bloorview is renowned for its expertise in partnering with clients and families to provide exceptional care.


Isofriendships was produced by Mary Anderson, technical production by Nick Dywelska.

About the project

Holland Bloorview’s Virtual Engagement Project has been generously supported by Barbara Underhill and the Stephanie Gaetz Keepsafe Foundation. The Virtual Engagement Project has helped to address the impact of current COVID-19 homebound isolation on youth with disabilities. While moving social interactions into a virtual realm is helping keep people connected during the current pandemic, our team believes that harnessing the current trend towards virtual human connection can lead to expanded options for sustained connectivity for young people with disabilities.

All field recordings and episode storyboarding were created by Youth Leaders. Isofriendships was produced by Mary Anderson. Technical production by Nick Dywelska.

About Youth Leaders

Youth Leaders are young adults with disabilities who are current or former clients of Holland Bloorview. As registered volunteers at the hospital, they use their lived experience to give input and feedback on hospital programs and services, research, and other initiatives.

Acknowledgements

Thank you to the participants, Mary Anderson, Dolly Menna-Dack, and the other incredible staff at Holland Bloorview Kids Rehabilitation Hospital for their dedication and support of this project.


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