Monday, May 16, 2016

Knock Knock... Who's There? Are you having fun yet with AAC? You should!!

"How come there's no Knock Knock joke about America?"
"Because freedom rings!"

"Do they have a 4th of July in England?"
"Yes. That's how they get from the 3rd to the 5th!"

"What do you get when you cross a duck with a firework?"
"A firequacker!"

It is without a doubt we use communication for a wide range of purposes, especially social interactions. Arguably, we communicate for social pleasure perhaps more than any other reason. All too often, partners of students who use AAC forget to have fun when chatting with them. Teaching them the symbols paired to social chatting for the purposes of quick greetings ("What's up?"  "How ya doing?"  "What's goin' on?"), age appropriate reactions ("Whoooaaa!"  "No way dude!"  "That's sweet!"), and being funny....telling jokes (Yes, that's right, telling jokes) adds an element of engagement that may be missing in their day. We all have a funny side, maybe a sarcastic side, or maybe a dry humor side. Just like any symbol communication, if it's not modeled or made accessible, then our AAC users have no way to express it. Additionally, we all know that AAC and symbol communication learning is contingent on highly preferred, highly motivating, and highly engaging, contextual situations. How engaging, motivating, and exciting is it to make the people in our lives laugh?  Laughter is the BEST medicine for many things that are difficult in our lives!  PrAACtical has a wonderful list of joke resources that will be sure to put a smile on the faces of any of the students you work with: http://praacticalaac.org/tag/jokes/

You can use these jokes on any AAC from the lowest-tech static speech generating devices, such as sequencers, to the highest-tech systems such as an iPad with communication app. In doing so, you create a simple means to teach the cause-effectness of their initiation producing a response in their environment (usually a happy face or laugh from their partners). You also increase their accuracy in selecting icons in a sequence with intent, But most of all, you are tapping into another communication form that is often missing in their social expression.

With the end of the school year right and summer fun right around the corner, why not spend these last few weeks just "jokin' around" with your students? Program and model, model, MODEL some joke telling on their AAC and share a few smiles and laughs together.