Pokémon Go Is Helping This Autistic 6-Year-Old In The Most Amazing Way

    "Thank you Nintendo!!!"

    Six-year-old Ralph Koppelman from New York has been diagnosed with hyperlexia and autism, but this hasn't stopped him from becoming an expert Pokémon trainer.

    After introducing Ralph to Pokémon Go Lenore Koppelman, Ralph's mother, took to Facebook to applaud the popular game.

    Facebook: lenore.koppelman

    The full post reads:

    Thanks to the suggestion of my fellow-autism-mama friend and fellow body painter Ren Allen, I finally introduced Ralphie to Pokemon Go tonight. She was right. This thing is AMAZING. After he caught his first one at the bakery, he was shrieking with excitement. He ran outside to catch more. A little boy saw him and recognized what he was doing. They immediately had something in common. He asked Ralphie how many he had caught. Ralph didn't really answer him, other than to shriek "POKEMON!!!!" and jump up and down with excitement while flapping his arms. Then the little boy showed him how many HE had caught (over 100!) and Ralph said "WOWWWW!" and they high-fived. I almost cried. Then he saw his second Pokemon, sitting on Jenny Lando's front step. He caught that one and was so excited he shrieked again and began to jump up and down. Then she came out and he chatted with her about it, too! Then she pointed out to him that there was a lot of Pokemon activity at the playground. He begged to go. He NEVER wants to go to the playground at night, because it's out of his usual routine. He is normally SO RIGID about his routine. But tonight he was happy to change things up, and do it! We were in shock! And when we got there, other kids ran up to him to hunt for Pokemon together. He was interacting with other kids. Holy crap!!!! I didn't know if I should laugh, or cry. Then he wanted to go find more, and we walked down 30th ave. Adults were also hunting Pokemon, and these total strangers were giving him advice like "there's one right around this corner, buddy! Go get it!" and he would run off laughing to get it. He would even look up at them and say "THANK YOU!" and run off! WOW!!!!!

    MY AUTISTIC CHILD IS SOCIALIZING. Talking to people. Smiling at people. Verbalizing. Participating in pragmatic speech. With total strangers. Looking up at them. Sometimes even in the eye. Laughing with them. Sharing something in common. This is AMAZING. <3 <3 <3

    Thank you Ren Allen, for suggesting this. You were right. And thank you Nintendo!!! ASD mama's DREAM!!!!!! <3 <3 <3 I love you! :D ‪#‎PokemonGO‬ ‪#‎gottacatchemall‬

    Steve Koppelman, Ralph's father, added: "Ralph doesn't have an easy time responding to open-ended questions, especially from other kids. But now, when we point out another person playing the game, or another kid approaches him because they see him playing it, he responds to them excitedly."

    Ralph was evaluated shortly after his second birthday and a state-assigned psychologist concluded that his was one of the most extreme cases of hyperlexia he'd seen in years.

    Ralph's autism means he needs a rigorous schedule to stay calm day-to-day.

    But thanks to Pokémon Go Ralph has become more flexible. In fact, within the first 15 minutes of playing, he was breaking his own rules.

    Ralph particularly loves finding and catching Pokémon.

    Ralphs parents plan to introduce other activities besides Pokémon Go to his routine so he stays open to further gradual change.

    As Ralph's story has spread online, the Koppelmans have heard from other parents of autistic children who have found similar responses.

    "Sure, he still struggles sometimes," said Ralph's dad. "He always will. But this game has become a great tool for him to help him through it all."