"Pokemon Go" more than game for autistic families and adults - WKOW 27: Madison, WI Breaking News, Weather and Sports

"Pokemon Go" more than game for autistic families and adults

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MADISON (WKOW) -- "Pokemon Go" isn't just a game.  Some families say it has become a life-line for loved ones with autism or other behavioral issues.

"It's probably the first video game I've been thankful," Mom Mickey Hack said about her 13-year-old son Jack's obsession with the new game. 

Jack has Autism symptoms, but his shyness and frustration fade away when he focuses in on the screen.

"It is amazing it ["Pokemon Go"] can do all that, I don't know if I expected it to do as much as it has," Mickey said.

Autism Consultant Debbie Armstrong has worked with Jack for four years, she says the game is helping the teen 'level-up' in the real-world.

"With Jack, it's helped with his social skills, helping him talk to people he might not before," Armstrong said.

But "Pokemon Go" isn't just helping Jack's family, it's benefiting autistic players of all ages.

27-year old Evan Halpop is high-functioning on the spectrum.  He just wishes he played "Pokemon Go" at Jack's age.
"Yeah, I wish I did," he said.  "It's a good way to socialize with people.

Halpop logs 7 miles or more each day, walking across Madison playing "Pokemon Go." He says he encounters half a dozen new people every time he plays.

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