There are many parents who are probably curious – or even perplexed – about the fascination with Pokemon Go, but some parents have been nothing short of wonderstruck. More and more stories have been coming out about autistic children becoming engrossed in the game, so much so that they’ve become much more comfortable going outside and socialising with other players!

Many children suffering from autism find it difficult to motivate themselves to go outside, and it’s a similar struggle for their parents. But the addictive fun of Pokemon Go has provided great motivation, and now many children on the autism spectrum have enjoyed going outside, playing the game and mixing with other players.

Stephanie Barnhill couldn’t believe it when her 12 year old son, Ian, asked to go outside and play Pokemon and she’s been overwhelmed by how interactive it’s made him.

“He’s starting to go out and going to Pokestops, get Pokeballs and catch creatures, whereas he didn’t have the interest to go outside before. He’s not a go-outside-and-play kind of kid. But this game has enabled him to want to reach out to people and strike up conversations about creatures that they’ve caught.” – Stephanie Barnhill.

Lenore Koppelman, the mother of Ralphie, who’s 6 years old, said similar things. She found it gave Ralphie things in common with other kids, and it distracts the other children from some of his autistic behaviours, which she believes helps everyone.

“As a result, he is finally finding himself in the middle of a group of kids he doesn’t even know, being welcome to play with them.” – Lenore Koppelman.

Dr. Peter Faustino, a school psychologist and member of Autism Speaks’ Family Services Committee, is encouraging parents to capitalise on this. He believes it will be a really healthy motivator for getting those on the autism spectrum outside and socialising, something he’s found those he’s worked with often have trouble with.

Yet another way Pokemon Go is doing so much more than just filling those lazy summer days…

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Helena Vine is currently studying History at the University of Edinburgh, and loves anything making the world a better place.

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