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Why do Autistic People LOVE Pokemon

Published on 4th July 2023

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Autism is a neurological condition that affects the way a person communicates, interacts, and behaves. It is a complex disorder that affects nearly 1 in 59 children in the United States. It is characterized by social deficits, communication difficulties, and restricted interests. While autism is a highly heterogeneous condition, it is estimated that 1 out of every 5-10 autistic people have an affinity for Pokémon.


Pokémon, short for “pocket monsters,” is a global phenomenon. It is a media franchise created by Satoshi Tajiri in 1995, and consists of a variety of media, including anime, manga, games, trading cards, and toys. As of 2021, the franchise’s gross revenue is estimated to be over $90 billion.


Different people have different reasons for loving Pokémon. For autistic people, however, the connection is especially profound. This article will explore the unique bond between autism and Pokémon, why autistic people love Pokémon, and how it has helped autistic people in different ways.


The connection between autism and Pokémon has been explored in various studies. In 2010, a study from the Neuroscience Institute in Japan found that people with autism were able to recognize Pokémon characters more quickly than other characters. Other studies have highlighted how Pokémon can offer benefits to people with autism, including improved visual working memory, increased motivation, and improved problem-solving skills.


There are many theories as to why autistic people connect to Pokémon. Some researchers point to the game’s structure and rules, which can be simple and straightforward, making them easier to learn and understand. Other researchers have suggested that Pokémon’s complex characters and storylines create an engaging and immersive world which autistic people can easily get lost in. Meanwhile, some autistic people have found comfort in the characters’ non-human nature and how it allows autistic people to be accepted for who they are.


For autistic people, Pokémon can be a source of comfort, a way to connect, and an educational tool. It can be a way to express feelings and emotions, a way to communicate, and a way to cope with stress. It can also be a way to find meaning and purpose in life. In this article, we will explore all of these aspects in greater detail.


What is Autism?


Autism is a complex neurobehavioral disorder characterized by difficulty in communication, social interactions, and restricted and repetitive behaviors. Autism is a spectrum disorder, meaning the characteristics and severity of the condition vary greatly from person to person. Common symptoms of autism include difficulty with social interaction, difficulty with verbal and nonverbal communication, restricted and repetitive behaviors and interests, hypersensitivity to sensory input, and difficulty with social imagination. Diagnosis of autism typically includes an in-depth evaluation by a multidisciplinary team that may include a psychologist, neurologist, psychiatrist, speech-language pathologist, occupational therapist, and other professionals. With appropriate early intervention and support, individuals with autism treatment can lead fulfilling and successful lives.


What is Pokemon?


Pokémon is a popular franchise of media, video games, and collectible cards that has been around since the mid-1990s. It is based on imaginary creatures of the same name that inhabit a world called the Pokémon universe. The main goal of the game is for players to collect and train these creatures, which can be done through battles with other trainers, exploration, and collecting items. As the game has grown in popularity, so have the number of different Pokémon available, as well as the ways in which they can be trained. This has allowed gamers of all ages and skill levels to enjoy the game.


Connecting Autism and Pokemon


For those who are on the autism spectrum, Pokémon can be a great source of comfort and an outlet for creative expression. Autistic people often connect to the fantastical world of Pokémon, and the creatures within it, in a way that is both calming and empowering. While it may seem like an unlikely pairing, the combination of autism and Pokémon can be a powerful one.


One of the main appeals of Pokémon for autistic people is that it provides a form of escapism. The world of Pokémon is full of interesting and diverse creatures, which can captivate a person's imagination and spark a sense of wonder in them. This can be especially beneficial for those on the autism spectrum who may otherwise struggle to connect to their own reality, as playing Pokémon can provide a form of distraction and help to reduce anxiety.


In addition to providing an escape, Pokémon can also help autistic people to process and understand their own emotions. The game's characters have a wide range of expressions that can help autistic players to better understand their own feelings. This connection can be especially beneficial for autistic people who may struggle with emotional regulation and have difficulty expressing their emotions in a healthy way.


Pokémon can also be used as a valuable tool for teaching valuable social skills. The game involves communication between players, as well as the use of strategy and problem-solving skills. Through playing the game, autistic people can learn important skills such as teamwork, cooperation, and communication. This can be especially beneficial for those on the autism spectrum who may struggle with social interaction and connecting to other people.


Furthermore, Pokémon can also be used to support autistic people in their academic pursuits. The game's structured and repetitive nature can be incredibly helpful for those on the autism spectrum who may have difficulty focusing on more complex tasks. Playing Pokémon can help to improve the player's concentration and memory, as well as their ability to plan and follow instructions.


Finally, Pokémon can provide a sense of belonging and connection for autistic people. It can be difficult for those on the autism spectrum to feel accepted or understood, but by playing Pokémon, autistic people can find a community where they feel a sense of belonging and acceptance. This can be especially beneficial for those who may struggle to make meaningful connections with their peers.


Overall, Pokémon can have a profound impact on the lives of autistic people. By providing an escape, a means of processing emotions, and a sense of belonging, Pokémon can be a valuable tool for those on the autism spectrum.


Common Benefits for Autistic People


Autism does not mean that people on the spectrum are unable to experience joy and have hobbies. Pokémon is one of those hobbies that can bring a lot of benefits to autistic people. In fact, gaming in general can be a great way for autistic people to find an enjoyable activity and even learn important skills. When it comes to Pokémon specifically, there are a few common benefits that people on the spectrum can enjoy.


First, playing Pokémon can provide cognitive benefits to autistic people. In the game, players must use strategy and problem-solving skills to outsmart their opponents. This kind of activity helps to train the brain in order to think more deeply and develop analytical skills. Playing Pokémon can also help improve memory and focus, both of which are incredibly important for people with autism.


The social benefits of playing Pokémon are also worth mentioning. Although this game is typically seen as a solitary activity, it can actually be a great way for autistic people to connect with others. Joining a Pokémon club or playing the game with friends can help teach autistic people how to interact with others in a safe and comfortable environment. In addition, playing Pokémon is a great way for autistic people to pick up on social cues and learn valuable communication skills.


Another great benefit of playing Pokémon is that it can be used as a form of education for people on the autism spectrum. Many autistic people struggle with academics, but Pokémon can offer a fun and engaging way to learn. The game can teach autistic people important skills like math, science, and even language. It can also help autistic people learn about different cultures, as many Pokémon games draw inspiration from various parts of the world.


Overall, playing Pokémon can be a great hobby for autistic people. The game provides cognitive and social benefits that can help autistic people learn and grow. It can also be used as an educational tool to teach important skills. Pokémon can be a great way for autistic people to find an enjoyable activity and connect with others on the autism spectrum.


Pokémon as an Educational Tool


Pokémon can be a great educational tool for autistic people. The game has a variety of elements that can help autistic people learn social skills, such as recognizing facial expressions, responding to cues, and engaging in conversations. Pokémon can also help autistic people practice communication, problem-solving, and strategies for participating in activities.


Pokémon is also effective in teaching autistic people about patience and delayed gratification, as well as teaching them to follow rules and respond to instructions. The game can also help autistic individuals practice self-regulation and take turns with others. This helps autistic people to build better relationships with peers and adults. Pokémon can also be used to reward positive behaviors, which helps autistic people build and reinforce positive habits.




As we’ve seen, Pokémon is a game that has a special place in the hearts of many autistic people. The game offers a variety of cognitive and social benefits, and it can also be used as an educational tool to help teach autistic people important social skills.


Pokémon provides a safe and comfortable environment for autistic people to explore and learn in, giving them a chance to practice their social skills in a relatively low-stakes environment. It also allows for a sense of self-expression and connection to the characters that can be helpful for autistic individuals.


The game is also incredibly popular among autistic people, and it’s often seen as a form of entertainment and escape. It gives autistic people the opportunity to enjoy the game and connect with it in a way that is uniquely meaningful for them.


Finally, Pokémon also offers representation for autistic people, which can be incredibly powerful and meaningful. It allows autistic people to see themselves represented in the game, and it shows that they are accepted and valued in the Pokémon world.


Overall, Pokémon has become an important and beloved game for many autistic people. It has a special place in the hearts of many, and it offers a variety of benefits that can be incredibly helpful for autistic individuals. The game is also incredibly popular and can provide a sense of connection and belonging for autistic people. Finally, the game provides a representation for autism, which can be incredibly powerful for autistic people.

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