I remember there was a time I would stress for days when I knew Peyton needed a haircut. He hated them, he was so afraid of the scissors, shaver and anything else anyone tried to use. I tried everything to get him to understand it was going to be ok. What added to the stress was fellow customers not understanding Autism and making comments or giving me dirty looks and shaking their heads, as if I wanted him to be upset.
I remember one time cutting the hair on one of his stuffed animals, thinking he would see it was going to be ok. That backfired big time, as he cried that I “ruined” his friend! Not knowing what else to try, I sought out the help and support of my older kids..my older ones agreed to go with and get their haircut with him, they showed him that there was nothing to be afraid of, and in fact they enjoyed getting haircuts. I had tried to spare them the stressful time. Along with his “siblings” as he calls them, getting haircuts, I found a hairdresser who was so warm and understanding with him. She explained everything to him and told him he was going to be “so cool” after his haircut. He calmed down a lot and actually sat through a full cut! I was beyond thrilled as I saw light at the end of the tunnel. My daughter then stepped up and said she would take him for haircuts as a day for them together.He loves his sister so much and any time he can spend alone with her he cherishes…she made it a fun expierence. I remember one time I went out of the country on business and I came home to him having a FoHawk…while I was not pleased, I was thrilled he had overcome his intense fear. We still have times, he will get a bit stressed, but I have been blessed to find amazing hair dressers who understand and make his expierence wonderful. A couple weeks ago we went to Aveda in the Woodlands and they were beyond amazing with him, he actually asked me when he could go back! next time you are in a salon and a child is crying and showing fear, please Be understanding, while it may stress you to be there, the stress the parent and autistic child are going through is not something either want, as well. A warm smile and kind gesture go a long way and can actually calm the situation.
1. Get to know the stylist ahead of time, even if you are going to a walk in salon, tell them your child is Autistic and ask if they have someone on staff who deals with Special Needs.
2. If you have other children, ask them to go with and get their haircut at the same time, showing that it’s ok and “change” is fine
3. Make the expierence special, get a “treat” after the haircut, go to the park or any activity that calms them. This way they will associate positive expierence with the haircut.
4. Talk to other Special Needs Parents and ask them who they take their child to. Support Autism Friendly Businesses!