The unexpected effect ‘Pokémon Go’ had on a boy with autism

Kimberly Yam

One boy with autism is catching ‘em all ― and discovering a new side of himself in the process.

For Ralphie Koppelman, a 6-year-old who was diagnosed with autism, socializing can be uncomfortable. He has difficulty making eye contact and engaging in conversation. But the day he started playing Pokémon Go, the boy began opening up to other kids, making new connections, and finding common ground with his peers as a result of the game.

His mother, Lenore Koppelman, who was overjoyed by the unexpected consequence from playing the game, shared her son’s experience on Facebook.

“MY AUTISTIC CHILD IS SOCIALIZING,” she wrote in the emotional post. “[He’s] looking up at them. Sometimes even in the eye. Laughing with them. Sharing something in common.”

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