Pokemon Go becomes a tool for autism

Pokemon Go has opened up a surprising means of communication for people on the autistic spectrum 
Pokemon Go is a GPS-based augmentative reality game you can play on your smartphone. The wildly popular mobile game has opened up a surprising means of communication with a 6-year-old boy named Ralphie. Ralphie Koppelman has autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and hyperlexia. He struggles socially, doesn’t usually make eye contact with strangers, has difficulty holding conversations and panics when his routine changes. But playing the game for the first time has opened up a way for him to express himself and communicate with ease.
Ralphie’s parents were taken by surprise when they noticed him laughing, smiling and even sharing a high-five with kids he didn’t know, as they used their smartphones to play the game by capturing colorful Pokemon creatures.


This could be a promising new intervention for, not just children but young adults with ASD. Some people on the spectrum can shut themselves off from the world if they don’t receive encouragement to get outdoors and interact. Pokémon GO could give young adults with ASD a unique reason to leave the house and explore. Using the smartphone screen as an interface to communicate with people can reduce the anxiety of face to face communication out in public.


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Pokémon GO app

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4 thoughts on “Pokemon Go becomes a tool for autism”

  1. Great article, I’ve heard many people talking about the Pokemon Go video game but I’ve never actually played it. Ralphie’s story is inspiring, I think it’s great that Pokemon Go can be used as a tool for Autism. Playing Pokemon Go was able to make a shy boy like Ralphie more sociable with people he doesn’t know. Think about the possibilities of what would happen if every autistic person and child started playing this game, sky’s the limit.

    1. Thank you for your comment Marvin. It’s wonderful to see virtual games become useful communication tools for people on the spectrum.

  2. Really humbling article to read. I know how difficult autism can be, one of my cousins has autism. Pokemon Go has defiantly been the number one app for everyone this past month. I’ve not only seen young kids playing but also adults. It really has become a means of communication between strangers.

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