Laughing, Confusing Emotions, Understanding Emotions and Autism, by Emily


i) Laughing When Someone is Hurt

When playing with friends, Daniel’s reaction to one of them injuring themselves, was to laugh.

Danny has a problem with understanding the emotions of others and reacted by laughing.

The boy was upset by Daniel’s reaction and I had to intervene, explaining that Danny was wrong to laugh but that he had difficulty understanding that the injured boy was in pain and upset.

ii) Laughing in the Classroom

In the classroom, those with autism diagnosis can get into a lot of trouble for laughing at inappropriate behaviour. When really it’s their individual processing of what is taking place and trying to process the correct emotions involved. Not necessarily that they are enjoying the inappropriate behaviour. I think this is misunderstood in Education sometimes!

I know that when Danny returns home from school sometimes. He will appear upset and talk about how ‘bad’ behaviour from others has upset him that day or at least made him feel more anxious, yet when he tries to describe the events at school, he will then laugh part of the way through a story about a fellow student inappropriate behaviour thereby confusing those who are listening as to whether Danny is truly upset!

iii) Laughing When He is Not Enjoying the Activity

Danny is uncomfortable with touch in general, especially when he was tickled, when he was younger, he would laugh, despite his discomfort, thereby confusing the person who was tickling him, thinking Danny was enjoying it!

As Danny was then unable to express his unhappiness, always confused with emotions, he continued to laugh and the tickling would continue until Danny shouted for help!
Understanding that tickling might even cause pain to those with autism diagnosis, is important to those responsible for their care.

iv) Laughing Inappropriately at Stories on the News and/or TV

Danny often, will laugh inappropriately, when he is verbally repeating certain news items i.e where perhaps an individual has been hurt in some way or something that simply is not funny in a normal context.

The problem, as I see it, is that satirical/comedy TV shows, where the news is discussed, treat the news story with humour, but Daniel then confuses the context of what the audience is laughing about and simply associates the particular news item, with the laughter of the audience.

I try and commentate and translate, as much as possible, to try and help him understand the News content and process it properly.

Echolalia is used a lot by Danny when he is repeating something that has amused him about the news and quite often, it is not something that is funny, so I have to carefully re-enforce, that what Daniel is saying is inappropriate.


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