'Pokemon Go' gives family with autistic teen newfound connection

Leanne Suter Image
Friday, July 15, 2016
'Pokemon Go' brings Hacienda Heights family with autistic teen together
One Hacienda Heights family is praising "Pokemon Go," saying it has brought the family together, especially a child with autism.

HACIENDA HEIGHTS, Calif. (KABC) -- The "Pokemon Go" craze has some critics complaining the players are obsessed and getting into trouble for trespassing onto private property, but one local family is praising the game, saying it has brought the family together, especially a child with autism.

For Dianna Blake and her 14-year-old son, Matthew, "Pokemon Go" is much more than just the hottest video game in the country.

"Matthew is high-functioning autistic, so communication is not always easy, and finding something that we both have in common isn't easy either," Dianna Blake said.

"Pokemon Go" is giving them a newfound connection as they search for hidden characters.

"I like spending time with my mom. It's fun. Me and her get to go out, look for Pokemon. Sometimes we take walks," said Matthew.

Matthew's mother said the game has given her an opportunity to learn from her son.

It's not just those diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder who find the game helpful. Those suffering with anxiety and depression have been speaking out on social media as well.

For the Blake family, it goes beyond just having fun. "Pokemon Go" is also helping Matthew with real-life skills.

"I've seen everything from collaboration, teamwork, problem-solving - those are all skills you need, not just in high school, in college, but for a job, so I'm hoping to find a way to take the confidence he has with that and put it in the real-world experience," Dianna Blake added.