All three of my children didn’t understand the comedy at the circus. I found it very sad.

I was enjoying the comedy shtick so much that I was crying with laughter.

My children however, were looking at me with very puzzled expressions, and sometimes very verbal confusion and frustration as to why I was laughing so hard.

Let me set the scene…

Coco the Clown, performed a silent comedy routine which consisted of him gathering five audience members to take part in a boxing ring fight.

Four of the members were the corners of the ring, and had tape wrapped around them to form the square. The fifth member was the boxer along with Coco the Clown.

They made some funny noises, put some boxing music on and pretended to fight.

I found it hilarious, especially when they beat their chest and the boxer from the audience was given a squeak to accompany his manly chest pounding for special effects. (Pretty sure Coco picked his boxer with us ladies in mind, he was toned, athletic, and had an amazing six pack)

It was Funny. My children didn’t laugh. Not Once.

Children with ASD find it very hard to understand or read the subtle non-verbal cues in others, and at this moment I learned this particular trait affected two of my children.  

The really sad part is that my eldest who is diagnosed with high functioning autism found it highly distressing and was telling me to stop laughing.

Normally it would have been a great opportunity to teach them about how to understand these things, but we were in the middle of a circus, and it was loud, so I couldn’t.

For many children this will be an issue for them for life, for others they will begin to understand and learn with the right support. The reason why this sort of thing is hard for them is because they find it difficult to use or interpret facial expressions, tone of voice, and jokes or sarcasm.

It needs to be clear cut, and concise, laid out on a plate.

I have noticed just recently that my middle child, who is diagnosed with Atypical Autism, doesn’t show any enjoyment of any programs that she watches, even her most favorite chosen ones. She sits, stoic faced, watching with such intent.

She is getting enjoyment out of these however, and I know this to be true because she constantly watches them, the same ones, over and over again.

It’s taken me a while to realize this trait is quite severe for her, it did occur to me at a younger age but it’s been one of those things that simply became normal, and I’m going to explore ways to help her begin to show some enjoyment in everyday life.

I have a four year old who is also on the waiting list be assessed for autism, and although she didn’t “get” the clown comedy, I think this was mainly down to her age.

I wouldn’t entirely expect a four year old to grasp this anyway. But what has made my other twos inability to understand those subtle non-verbal cues more apparent is the fact that my four year old shows verbal and visible enjoyment in the programme she watches or the games she plays, and this has made my other children’s difficulties so apparent.

To see her laughing, and making noises of appreciation at her the TV is very heartwarming, and I could watch her little face watching those forever, but it really brings down a harsh reality of how the others are struggling.

Laughter is the best therapy, and if we can laugh together about the things they that they enjoy I’ll be very happy.

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