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Our 9 year old son has recently been diagnosed with Auditory Processing Disorder and High Functioning Autism/Asperger's.  He has long had problems in loud environments and classrooms, although he does great in one on one play. 


He has difficulties socializing in school and functioning in a typical classroom, but he is very happy, sweet and obedient in safe environments with one or two friends.


A homeschooling friend and former teacher has suggested that my son might enjoy being in her son's Pokemon league.  I knew very little about Pokemon until yesterday, when her son and daughter taught my son and daughter to play the card game.  It looks fine to me.


I'm cautious of involving my son in the league until I find out a little more about it.  He can be obsessive about games and activities (Skylanders, Star Wars), so in case he runs with it, I'd like to be sure it's good for him.


He loves strategy games like Small World and Bang! with our family at home.  He takes chess after school, and does very well.  It's the school environment in which he functions best, in terms of engaging with other kids and focusing on the teacher.


I'm told Pokemon is chess on steroids, fun and very good for strategic thinking.  Have other parents of Aspies involved their kids in this game?  Was it good for them, or do you wish you hadn't gotten involved?




GA Cub Mom

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I think it will depend on the league.  Does your friend like it?


My husband plays Magic: the Gathering in our little town, and it is a nice group of people and a nice atmosphere.  He thinks there may be a couple of people who go who may be on the autism spectrum, and thinks they have a good time and people are nice to them.


He has had an issue with one person, who is not agreeable about trading cards.  There is a lot of trading cards in this game, I think Pokémon may be the same.  This person will not "bargain" at all, he is not fair, he wants my husband to trade a "good" card for a "bad" card ---- my husband will not look at trading cards with him anymore, neither will several other people.


I think if there are any social rules around trading cards, or any rules you are going to make as parents, or any risk of him getting taken advantage of in trading cards, etc etc then you can make rules for him.  You might need to know, yourself, what the social rules are around trading cards. 


My son plays with my husband, and it has helped his addition and subtraction facts a huge amount.  It is good for his self-esteem -- my husband can take him to the card shop to play with other people, and he can do pretty well. 


My son is too young to play in the tournaments my husband plays in, though.


I would much rather he did Pokémon, if it was a nice group of people, and if it wasn't going to be a lot of drama about cards. 


My son would not be dramatic about it, my husband probably would have been as a child.  He obsesses about certain cards and wants to have them, he obsesses about trades he wants to make, etc.  But he has a full-time job and 3 kids ---- it is a hobby to him, but a very consuming hobby.


If he might be obsessive about cards ---- I would be up-front in setting rules.  Either a dollar amount, or a system for how often he can get booster packs.  Possibly you have to supervise trades.  Possibly he is not allowed to trade.  He needs to understand he is not going to be able to have every card he wants ----- that is just how it is.  (I think ---- maybe it is possible to get every card, I don't know.) 


You might want to allow him to spend a higher amount of money on a special card once in a while.  You may be able to buy them on the Internet, too. 


I think it will depend on how it is locally. 


I do think, I have conversations with my husband (and my older son, though he is not obsessive, it is my husband, lol) about how much things cost, and how the cycle of certain products are designed to make you keep buying them.  Like ---- new cards come out, you want the new cards.  Maybe there are 100 cards that come out, and 20 are rare cards, and it might just not be possible to have all 20 rare cards, even though you would like to have all of them. 


But if you are going to have that worry with your son, you are going to have it no matter what, I bet ----- it would come up with something else even if he didn't do Pokémon. (My husband is this way in general.) 


The boys in my son's school who play Pokémon and Yu-Gi-Oh are nice kids, I can say that.  Very nice kids. My son does not do it, though, it is not his thing right now. 


(You can also say ---- we will be getting starter packs and booster packs only, this many this often, and no trading ---- so you just have the cards you have.  You could do that for starting out and then see what you think.  It is hard for me to know ---- if my husband is more "into" the cards and trading thing than other people.... the main 4-5 guys he is friends with from it are the same way, but I don't know if that is typical or likes attracting likes.  It is a lot of fun to my husband, though, and he does not spend too much money or anything.  Booster packs are $3 and you get one rare, then you can trade rares with other people to get the rare you want the most..... at our local Target the Pokémon booster packs are together with the Magic boosters, so I do think they might be that way, too, but I am not sure.)


(Also Magic is for adults only in our town.... my husband says there have been some older teen boys who attend with their fathers, but that is all.  I do not know as much about it ---- at the card shop my husband goes to, they do not carry anything for Pokémon, they only carry games that are aimed at adults.)

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My son plays in a Pokemon League.  They discourage trading because there is a pretty wide age and skill level range and they don't want the newer/younger kids being taken advantage of, and it would be too much to watch that closely.


The league he plays in, you pay a few bucks to join in each week OR you can buy something for the same dollar amount.  So, usually we would buy a pack of cards as our entry.  They also give out a few cards each week (blind draw), and if you play a certain number of games you can pick another small prize - a little pokemon figurine, or a sticker.


My son isn't diagnosed but has a lot of Aspie traits.  Pokemon has been good for him, although he did get a little obsessive for a little while. There are a lot of aspects to explore.  He likes to read the cards, sort the cards, make up new decks, he has Pokemon on his walls, Pokemon figures and toys, books, and there are about 15 different cartoon series stretching back the last 20 years plus 4 or 5 movies.  The overall themes are loyalty, working together, friendship - not bad things at all.   But the game is all about battling so I've heard some people call it violent.  I've watched all the movies and a LOT of the shows and I don't think of it as violent.  The losing Pokemon is stunned but gets back up and everyone says good job at the end. 


Pokemon was probably the biggest contributor toward my son learning to read - some of those names will really stretch the phonics skills. 

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My son loves Pokemon and would probably love being in a league, even now! Don't know of one in our area. But yes, it's encouraged reading, strategic thinking, drawing, budgeting (as he saves money to get cards, LOL! Not so much any more but when he was younger he did). 

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When we moved to our new town two years ago one of the things that was a draw for me was learning that there is a Pokemon League at our local library hosted by junior college students. My boys love Pokemon but previously just collected cards and made up games to go with them. My oldest son is an Aspie and I have found that the league is one of the few things that I can generally get him to agree to participating in without much fight, and at times he really wants to go. Since he is a major homebody that is a big deal for us. 


We are fairly conservative but I don't have any problems with Pokemon. The boys have always had to save their allowances to buy cards or occasionally a booster pack is given as a reward or for stockings/Easter baskets.  For us the only drawback is my son's obsession with watching YouTube videos about Pokemon strategies...but he also loves to watch videos with strategies on other games so I don't blame Pokemon. That is just an expression of being an Aspie. 


At our League the kids (boys and girls) play both cards and on their Nintendo Ds's. Pokemon draws a lot of kids on the spectrum and there are several boys from our social skills group who attend regularly. I would say it would depend completely on the social scene at the League.

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