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Monday, August 1, 2016

Pokemon Go And Your Autistic Child - A Great Combo Of Exercise And Socialization

When my daughter first started crowing about Pokemon Go, I waved her off with a dismissive hand. This girl finds a new and exciting app that's all the rage approximately every seventeen minutes, so I figured this was just another trending thing.

Then she took her brother out Pokemon hunting in the neighborhood, and I realized this app really was something awesome. It took my sons love for cartoons and video games and put it in his hand, demanding that his feet follow.

Keeping David's weight down is a constant struggle. For a kid who's full of energy, he seems to like to sit a lot. He loves to watch movies and play video games, but getting him out to ride a bike or take a walk or having him work out in our home is usually preceded by thirty minutes of him digging in his heels and refusing to do it.

But this? This was fun! And they ran into other kids from the neighborhood who were helping, encouraging, laughing with was great! He got valuable face-to-face interaction with his peers and a good, long walk with occasional bursts of speed when he found something. I call that a win/win.

I'm not the only one, either. Check out this blog post from The Memo, highlighting a Facebook comment made by ASD Mom. She describes her son Ralphie, as he played the game:

“WOW! MY AUTISTIC CHILD IS SOCIALIZING. Talking to people. Verbalizing. Participating in speech. With total strangers. Looking up at them. Sometimes even in the eye. Laughing with them. Sharing something in common. This is AMAZING.”

I didn't grow up with the original Pokemon (it was after my time) so I never did get all the fuss. But I get it now. Nintendo,  you've done an awesome thing. Thank you!


Ellie's journey with her son David has been one of joy, patience and discovery - one that changed the very framework in which she used to view autism. Through David's eyes, she's learned that an autism diagnosis isn't the end of the world - it's just the beginning of an interesting new one.
Available at Amazon for Kindle.

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