Increase Your Child’s Interactive Attention Span with Slapstick Humor

“Slapstick Humor: What is it? When Tom chases Jerry and falls down a hole. When Cookie Monster munches all the cookies and say ‘nom nom nom nom’, when Sneezy the Dwarf has a HUGE SNEEZE coming and then lets it out. When Mr. Bean falls on the floor coughing and spluttering in the perfume department of the store.

“Slapstick humor, is simple, animated, larger than life, silly, goofy comedy and we all love it. Especially our children on the Autism Spectrum.

“Why do our children enjoy it so much? It’s exaggerated, it’s predictable and it’s oh so fun. In a world that is often very unpredictable for our children, with tricky social cues they are attempting to decode on a daily basis, our children absolutely know where they stand with good old slapstick humor. In The Son-Rise Program®, when we get a Green Light (when our children engage with us,) we entertain them as a way to lengthen their interactive attention span. If you have not yet done so, try adding some slapstick humor to your entertaining repertoire. Here are some fun ways to try this when you are in the playroom with your lovely child.

• Pick up something (a ball for example) and pretend it’s so slippery that no matter what you do, you simply can no longer keep a hold of it.
• Pretend to faint.
• Stick a bucket on your head, or pull a hat over your eyes and pretend to bump into things.
• Try to eat an apple with a fork, or spaghetti with a spoon (by accident).
• Make a chicken sound and pretend there is a hidden chicken somewhere in the room.
• Make a stuffed animal get REALLY sleepy and make it snore in a super fun way.
• Pretend a huge sneeze is…almost coming out but then goes away …only to suddenly explode out of you when you thought it went away.
• When bringing something over to your child, trip on your own foot and exaggerate a fun fall.
• Pretend you are stuck in quick sand.
• Run around pretending a bee is after you.
• Next time your child looks at you, pretend the ‘power’ of their eye contact was so strong it knocked you backwards.
As you use your slapstick skills, you can assess your child and see what they love the most. If they smile, or let out a giggle, then keep doing different versions of that slapstick action to continue to build their connection with you. Have the best time with this and make sure you don’t hurt yourself.”

Written by Becky Damgaard, Senior Son-Rise Program Teacher

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