Virtual Penpals


A hospital stay can be lonely and scary for many of the children that we work with.  These feelings are especially strong for the patients who are placed on isolation precautions.  When a child is placed under isolation they cannot leave their room at all and can have no contact with any of the other children staying on the unit.  You can imagine how difficult this type of seclusion would be for anyone, much less a child.

 Recently, we found a way to help three little girls who were on isolation connect by using visual media so that these little girls could become virtual pen pals.  Using an App on our IPad, we had one of the girls write a story.  She chose to write a story about how her doll helps her when she’s in the hospital.  The story included pictures which she had drawn and inserted into the story.  We then emailed the story to another little girl who replied with her own illustrated story.  These girls were able to make contact with each other and share their feelings about what it’s like to be lonely and stuck in a hospital room.  Through their “virtual exchange” they were able to express themselves and ease their feelings of lonesomeness.  There’s nothing virtual about the value of their friendship.

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