How Pokemon Go Helps People With Autism


By Mayukh Saha / Truth Theory

Pokemon Go has taken the world by storm. Ever since its release in 2016, it has been one of the most downloaded games of all time, until PUBG came out. Even then, the craze hasn’t gone down. You can still see people on the streets looking down at their cell phone, simply stopping at random locations for a few seconds, and then moving again. It might seem weird to a bystander, but they certainly know what they are doing.

The game might seem annoying too, but, interestingly, it has been of help too. For 300 fans of the game gathered near Whitlingham Park in Norfolk where the game designers joined hands with an autism center to organize a charity event. There were bonus rounds for people, especially for the ardent gamers, extra locations, and a chance to upload the Pokemon they catch on twitter, by using the #WalkForAutism hashtag.

Lee Gibbons, the operations managers for ASD Helping Hands, thought that this was a wonderful idea as most youngsters involved in this event were socially isolated, and never wanted to step out of their homes. This event allowed them to come back to mainstream society and interact with like-minded people in a friendly environment.

It is a beautiful story when you think that the creator of Pokemon, Satoshi Tajiri, was himself a very shy, introvert kid whose only experience outdoors was to catch bugs. This is was what led him to create the global phenomenon of Pokemon. And that has since turned into a plethora of TV shows, Card Games, Video games, and movies. All because he wanted to connect to people. He even named the protagonist of the show after him.

Gibbons believes that this event was a huge success, as £800 was raised. Niantic wants to push it to a staggering 1600 pounds. This would be given as charity for supporting those who have a pending autism diagnosis.

Now, it would be safe to say that Pokemon is more than just a show or a game. For some, it is a way of feeling involved and included.

IMAGE CREDIT: rawpixel

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