I have been reading this morning about the positive impact that the game ‘Pokemon Go’ has been having on some autistic young people. That these autistic teenagers have been encouraged to go outdoors and take some exercise for the first time in their lives, in order to find the Pokemon characters. Indeed I saw several young men out on the cliff path yesterday, while I was walking the dogs, all gazing at their mobile phones and running around in random directions. If the game has had a positive effect on introverted sufferers of autism, then it cannot entirely be the damaging phenomenon that the media have warned us about. Parents are reporting that they are having family days out for the first time and that their autistic children are getting more exercise too, while dashing around in search of the elusive characters.
As a small boy, Joshua loved the outdoors, he seemed to prefer it and he could spend hours on the beach, standing on the shore, watching the waves coming in and going out again. Yesterday he was awake at 5am, contrary to his usual holiday sleep pattern and a sign sadly of things to come, and he was full of beans. We took him down to the beach and I walked him out of his wheelchair down to the shore, as the tide was in, it was not far. He glanced at the sea then turned around and dragged me back to his waiting wheelchair, so I guess he was not in the mood for sea-gazing. So instead he ate a chocolate brownie in a cafe right on the beach, where in the past he would have been itching to get onto the sand, this time he sat people watching and enjoyed his sticky treat.
It can be difficult to entertain Joshua sometimes, when his favourite activity is to stay at home and watch his favourite DVDs over and over. Even when he has enjoyed a fun time out, he is usually most excited to return home to the familiar, which can be disheartening when we have tried hard to amuse him with something that he used to enjoy. So that is why we need to be more imaginative and continually expose him to new activities and interests, as he grows older.
So long as Pokemon Go is supervised, where players may not be able to keep themselves safe, then it sounds like a fun game and I am glad to read that it is benefitting some members of the autistic community, as the media only had horror stories to share when it first appeared on the scene. Technologoy can be used positively to bring light into many lives.