Pokemon Go has completely taken the world by storm. Both adults and children have pulled out their phones to hunt Pokemon and maybe catch a fan favorite (almost always Pikachu!). Pokemon Go may be a trip down memory lane for some or just an excuse to take the dog for a walk, it also has added benefits for children with special needs and their families. The social aspect of this new craze allows special needs children develop new skills which their families can take an active role in.
Easy to Pick Up
Video games have gotten very complicated since the days of Tetris or Super Mario Bros., but Pokemon Go is an easy concept for anyone to pick up, whether they are children with special needs or parents that haven’t picked up a video game controller in a few decades. You simply open the app on your smartphone and walk around; eventually, you’ll come across a Pokemon that you can toss a Pokeball at with just a flick of your finger. This ease is one of the major reasons the game has taken off so well and a big contributor to how it helps children with special needs.
More Social Interaction
Pokemon Go is a natural icebreaker, not just for children with special needs, but even children and adults that may naturally be shy in social situations. Go to any public park, playground, or church and you’re bound to see a lot of people with the same goal: catching Pokemon. The game essentially gives people a shared goal and this can help break down social walls and can get kids with special needs an aide to help them interact with others. Players can show each other new catches or share information on where to find the more elusive Pokemon. They can also work together as a team to take down a gym leader and claim the spot for their own team.
A Reason to Get Out of the House
When a child has a special need, especially autism, which affects how they socialize with others, it’s not uncommon for that child to prefer to stay within the confines of his or her room and set up a routine in which they are able to limit the amount of socializing they need to do in a given day. With Pokemon Go, part of the fun is the adventure can be had out in the real world. For example, in order to get more Poke Balls, a player has to visit Poke Stops, which are pre-determined landmarks like parks and churches.
Pokemon Go is the one game where it doesn’t pay to sit in front of a TV all day, which can help children with special needs learn to make their schedule a little more flexible, diversified, and allow them to become more acquainted with changes in their routine.
Strengthening Family Bonds
Parents of children with special needs can sometimes find it difficult to communicate and share experiences with their children. Many of these children, whether they have autism or other needs, have a hard time expressing their likes and dislikes as well as carrying conversations with others. Pokemon Go has actually bridged the gap between special needs children and their parents. It has become a shared activity for children and parents to go on walks to catch Pokemon.
Creating Attainable Goals
Pokemon Go has a built-in system of tasks that need to be done and medals that reward certain milestones. These unlockable goals give children, especially those with special needs, a sense of accomplishment and can boost confidence and self-esteem. These goals could be as simple as catching a favorite Pokemon or taking down an opponent in a gym battle; regardless of how big or small, it can do wonders to help a special needs child grow.
Pokemon Go can help both children with special needs and their parents. With its social and physical aspects, Pokemon Go can help grow a child’s personality and help them interact with the world in a way they haven’t been able to beforehand.