Students who have language disorders often miss the point of jokes or don’t understand what’s so funny because they lack the flexibility of vocabulary to understand that the answer lies in a multiple meaning word or a homophone or a metaphor.
Speech-language therapy time may sound like just having fun when we teach our students jokes, but they need to learn how to understand and respond to jokes in order to fit in socially with their peers – or even their siblings.
What are some examples? Picture a person slipping on a banana peel – one of the oldest gags in comedy. And then someone asks, “Have a nice trip? See you next Fall.” So, while it may not seem funny to laugh at someone actually falling, the point of the joke is completely lost on students who don’t understand the multiple meanings of “trip” and “fall.”
Because students with language disorders also often have difficulty with reading and phonological awareness skills, many of the knock-knock jokes do’t make sense because they don’t process the subtle differences in sounds in words; such as, “Orange’t you glad I didn’t say banana?”
By teaching these students about multiple meaning words and figurative language, we can help them to navigate the minefield of childish or adolescent humor.
Try this free mini lesson on multiple meaning words in your sessions and see if it helps them with flexibility of thinking about semantic relationships.
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