I have an autistic student in my homeroom this year. He goes to the life skills program for the rest of the day, but the 30 minutes we spend together in the morning is one of his few "main stream" opportunities. In homeroom, the teacher's role is to support and advocate for the students in whatever area they need it, and so for this guy, we work on social skills.
"Thanks! I'll be here all week!" was a phrase that he repeated over and over again one day recently. The other students are often unsure of how to interact with him, and they look to me in situations like that.
"That's what a comedian says," I told him. "Do you know any jokes?"
"Why did the chicken cross the road?" he said.
"To get to the other side?"
"Yeah. What's the difference between roast beef and pea soup?" he continued.
I was stumped. "I give up," I answered.
"Anybody can roast beef, but no one can pee soup," he dead panned.
All the other kids' eyes were on me, and when I laughed, they laughed, too. "Hey, that was pretty good," one girl said to our comedian, but he himself did not crack a smile.
"That joke was funny," I told him, "but do you think you should tell it in school, to your teacher?"
"No!" he grinned.
"Why not?" I asked.
"Because it has 'pee'. Sorry! I won't say it again."
"Okay," I replied.
"Thanks! I'll be here all week!" he answered.