Everybody needs to laugh!!! when I tell people what i do they always think im messing about, then I say ” no, im serious I am a clown for people who cannot hear or see me ” then they ask ” whats the point ? ”
There are many of reasons but the main ones for me are firstly from my experience along with loosing you’re hearing and sight also comes depression, secondly the people i work with rely on me to help them live their life to the full ,to tell them about new foods,places,clothes,experiences that they may like to try, I am there as a tool to enable them to access the thousands of things that they don’t know about the laughter and clowning aspect helps me to gain their trust and form a bond so i can introduce these new things and they will trust me, and that your judgement is good this will then hopefully lead to them having more choice and a better quality of life Each new experience whether it may be something stupid like a new type of cola to something huge like planning a holiday abroad comes with a whole bunch of other new experiences for them to tackle and learn from along the way.
The use of humour in my work is not a part of my job description, I use it because it makes a difference, I do what i do because it enhances the process. It’s not compulsive but I have made it compulsive and I am the only person who works in the way that i do.
without the humour there is no moving forward for some people they are happy where they are but for others they have such a thirst for life and want to know and try all of the things which they know they are missing out on , whatever they may be
So humour can be used in a huge motivational way or also just everyday , but you have to look at the situation and work out ways how this can be achieved Jokes are a waste of time as they don’t translate very well ,pulling a funny face will have no impact at all unless they can feel your face why you are pulling it….. I tend to use movement as i am constantly attached to the deafblind person by a linking arm for guiding purposes. this movement has to be carefully executed as after all I am guiding this person and their safety is my top priority. I may also change my speed and pressure when i am communicating with deafblind manual , this can relay different emotions and moods- I may change my walk or i may change my speed I may stand still or just stop and face them and they will feel and sense my change of emotion or movement and 9 out of ten times,laugh some of the people I work with will then retaliate by tapping me on the shoulder ,with which I will turn around using the whole of my body to see who it was this they will feel as my movement is made large and over exaggerated. and there begins the start of a double act formed by laughter and trust
I use this humour the same as i would with a hearing sighted person , when i think it is needed. im not laughing and walking stupid 24 hours a day! but i know that i have that as a tool , it works in different ways with different people, not everybody’s humour is the same and i know and i learn how far to go with different people and also when it could harm or enhance a situation.
touch, smell, taste are what I have to work with. the element of surprise is always present, I use toys and puppets,puzzles,hats,wigs…when you sit and think the list in endless. I try things and if they get a reaction then i keep them if they don’t then i get rid of them!
It is not stereo typical clowning , but it can be. a lot of what I do is very subtle and I tend to use it more to help and enhance everyday living rather than as an entertainment yet i do dress at various parties that we have.
I also include as part of my clowning the encouragement to do things that others may say ” whats the point ” with the help of manual communication and a few props anything is possible many have a great love for the theatre so I have guided deafblind people to see various shows , I try to find out about the show before hand and if it can be enhanced by me using props to help explain the show as it moves along.
I have guided at a sooty show and i have taken a bag of items with me including all the puppets, a water pistol and some custard pie foam and i have produced the various items when they appear,this way the deafblind person reacts the same time as the audience and also it helps to make a lot more sense of the situation rather than me saying there is an orange bear on the stage….this may lead to some confusion!