Mom credits Pokémon Go for making her autistic child more social
By now you’ve definitely heard of Pokémon Go, even if you’ve never played it. It’s almost daily in the news, for different reasons every time.
People cannot get enough of this game.
One New York mother recently shared the experience her family has been having since starting to play the game. Lenore Koppelman’s son Ralphie was diagnosed with hyperlexia and autism at two years old, and has been exhibiting some incredible behaviors since starting to play Pokémon Go.
Thanks to the suggestion of my fellow-autism-mama friend and fellow body painter Ren Allen, I finally introduced…
“I finally introduced Ralphie to Pokemon Go tonight… This thing is AMAZING,” Koppelman writes. “After he caught his first one at the bakery, he was shrieking with excitement. He ran outside to catch more. A little boy saw him and recognized what he was doing. They immediately had something in common.”
“He does look certain people in the eye. People he is really comfortable with,” she explained to KidSpot. “But strangers? Not very often. Kids he doesn’t know well? Almost never. But when he is playing Pokemon Go, for some reason, his usual rules simply don’t apply.”
Not only has the game made Ralphie more social, it’s also helped him to veer from his usual, very structured routine. A friend of the family pointed out that there was a lot of Pokémon activity at the playground, and he begged to go. “He NEVER wants to go to the playground at night, because it’s out of his usual routine,” Koppelman explains in her post. “He is normally SO RIGID about his routine. But tonight he was happy to change things up, and do it! We were in shock!”
Not only did he break routine to go to the playground, when he got there he began interacting with other kids immediately. “He was interacting with other kids. Holy crap!!!! I didn’t know if I should laugh, or cry,” his mom writes. “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!!!!!”
Since playing the game, Ralphie has even become more social while not playing. Koppelman told Kidspot an anecdote about Ralphie speaking to their pharmacist for the first time to tell him about his new game. “The pharmacist leaned in and whispered, ‘that is the most he has ever said to me… ever! And I’ve known him since he was a baby’,” she said.
There have been a lot of complaints about the game since it surfaced, but this story proves nothing is all bad. “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.”