“For many of the children I teach it’s hard to engage in social activities – even going down to the shops can be socially overwhelming. But what we’re seeing with the Pokémon craze is the same students are making conversation and engaging in social activities through the game.”
First made popular in the 1990s as a video game, the new Pokémon app allows players to see and “catch” Pokémon characters in the real world through their phone screen.
The game is the latest craze to hit school children as well as those nostalgic for the ’90s, but rather than fear the app as a distraction, Mr Smith says he, along with a growing number of teachers believe schools must embrace the trend and find a way to turn it into a tool for learning.
According to the educator and PHD scholar, children with autism can be especially reactive to the visual stimuli in apps and computer games, which can in turn help to develop their social skills.