The Language of Laughter

Why Laughter Matters in Speech and Language Skills

At first glance, laughter may not appear to be strongly related to language skills, or cognition in general. But, when you dig deeper, they share a fascinating connection. Let’s explore how laughter is involved in speech and language.

How Laughter Connects to Speech and Language Skills

Laughter is a vocalization that involves complex coordination of the respiratory system, vocal cords, and facial muscles—elements crucial for speech production. Infants begin to laugh long before they utter their first words, suggesting an early link between laughter and vocalization development.

Moreover, laughter serves as a social cue, signaling engagement, comprehension, and shared enjoyment during communicative interactions. It fosters bonding and strengthens interpersonal connections, laying the foundation for effective communication skills. As children grow, laughter becomes intertwined with language, influencing their ability to interpret humor, understand social nuances, and express themselves verbally.

How Can Laughter Be Involved in Therapy?

Speech therapists recognize the therapeutic potential of laughter and humor in their practice. Incorporating laughter into sessions can create a relaxed and positive atmosphere, alleviating anxiety and enhancing engagement.

According to Ginger Anderson, MEd, CCC-SLP, jokes are a powerful tool for connection and communication. In fact, she teaches her clients jokes as a way to help them practice different motor and communication skills, and connect with others around them. For example, one of her clients, referred to as Mr. G, lost confidence in using his voice due to symptoms of Parkinson’s disease. However, with speeach-language treatment, he regained the use of his voice and was able to tell jokes, enabling him to more easily connect with others and become less withdrawn.

In the article linked above, Anderson shares a chart of different jokes and how they may be used to target different speech skills. We love this incredible use of humor in therapy!


In the realm of speech and language therapy, laughter proves to be a powerful tool for fostering communication, building rapport, and perhaps even enhancing therapeutic outcomes. By embracing humor as part of therapy sessions, speech therapists tap into the innate joy of laughter, transforming the learning experience into an uplifting journey. As laughter intertwines with speech and language skills, it paves the way for greater confidence, competence, and connection.

Aly Castle

Aly is HappyNeuron Pro’s Content Specialist. She is passionate about mental health and well-being and loves utilizing her design background to share important cognitive information clearly and understandably.

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