Autistic Child Learns to Socialize Thanks to ‘Pokemon Go’
Apple| | By Lauren Boudreau
Unless you live under a rock, you’re probably aware of the new gaming app called Pokemon Go that has children and adults alike running all over their towns catching digitized pokemon. The app is so popular that people have gone to extreme lengths to “catch ’em all,” playing at work, on public transport, and even venturing out to places they never would have gone before. While some criticisms of the game have been called out by the media, it seems as if the pros out-weigh the cons.
According to a mother of an autistic boy, the game has helped her child socialize and grow in ways she never thought possible. The mom, Lenore Koppelman, penned a heartfelt Facebook post about how the app has encouraged him to interact with others. She wrote that the app was “amazing” and couldn’t believe the effect it had on him. The post reads in part:
“A little boy saw him and recognized what he was doing. They immediately had something in common. He asked Ralphie how many he had caught. Ralph didn’t really answer him, other than to shriek (sic) “POKEMON!!!!” and jump up and down with excitement while flapping his arms. Then the little boy showed him how many HE had caught (over 100!) and Ralph said “WOWWWW!” and they high-fived. I almost cried. Then he saw his second Pokemon, sitting on Jenny Lando‘s front step. He caught that one and was so excited he shrieked again and began to jump up and down. Then she came out and he chatted with her about it, too! Then she pointed out to him that there was a lot of Pokemon activity at the playground. He begged to go. He NEVER wants to go to the playground at night, because it’s out of his usual routine. He is normally SO RIGID about his routine. But tonight he was happy to change things up, and do it! We were in shock! And when we got there, other kids ran up to him to hunt for Pokemon together. He was interacting with other kids. Holy crap!!!! I didn’t know if I should laugh, or cry. Then he wanted to go find more, and we walked down 30th ave. Adults were also hunting Pokemon, and these total strangers were giving him advice like “there’s one right around this corner, buddy! Go get it!” and he would run off laughing to get it. He would even look up at them and say “THANK YOU!” and run off! WOW!!!!! “MY AUTISTIC CHILD IS SOCIALIZING. Talking to people. Smiling at people. Verbalizing. Participating in pragmatic speech. With total strangers. Looking up at them. Sometimes even in the eye. Laughing with them. Sharing something in common. This is AMAZING. <3 <3 <3 “Thank you Ren Allen, for suggesting this. You were right. And thank you Nintendo!!! ASD mama’s DREAM!!!!!! <3 <3 <3 I love you!”Koppelman also shared a photo of her son leaping for joy while playing. Koppelman’s post has gone viral with many news agencies sharing her story of triumph and success. Hopefully, Ralphie (and his pokédex) will continue to flourish.
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