An every day thing like getting a hair cut can be traumatizing for a child with autism. Getting a haircut can actually be painful for people with autism and sensory disorders. Autism is a spectrum disorder meaning it describes the range of difficulties that people with autism may experience and the degree to which they may be affected. As the saying goes ‘Once you have met one child with autism, you have met one child with autism’ So what one child with autism may find extremely difficult it may not be an issue for another.
My son along with a lot of children and adults with autism find it very difficult to have his hair cut. I believe its a sensory issue, and we are doing all we can to make it go as smooth as possible. It is challenging and I find some times are better then others. For example at the moment Dylan is refusing to wear the cape as he doesn’t like the feeing around his neck. For me this is only a minor issue, just means we both leave the barbers covered in loose hair 🙂 He doesn’t like the sound of the hair clippers which can be worrying as he can get upset and he will move or jerk from his chair. Dylan doesn’t like his ears be touched, the water been sprayed on his hair or the sound of the hairdryer can be all very distressing for him.
This is some tips Dylan and myself like to TRY put into place to help it go as smooth as possible. I am aware this may not suit everyone but if you were looking for some simple ideas to make a trip to the barbers a little less stressful, then I hope this might be of some help.
- So important to find a hairdresser/barber that understands. Is willing to listen to your child’s likes/dislikes, and is patient and calm.
- Make a visit to the barbers shop a few days before actually getting your child’s hair cut. Let them become familiar with the shop. So it may not be such a new surrounding with it comes to cutting their hair.
- preparing your child for the haircut by marking it on a calendar or making a PEC of the barber shop to prepare them.
- use a timer at the start of the cut so they can see how long it s going to take. ( you can download a visual timer app on your phone 🙂
- This is my gold rule!! IPAD!! My son loves movies so distracting him with a movie on his ipad works a charm! ( thank you for Netflix!!! 🙂 It helps to block out some background noise. He is concentrating more on the movie and a little less on his hair.
- TREATS!!! He loves jelly snakes from the natural collection. So every few moments I will be praising him and giving him jellies as long as he is sitting.
- At the moment Dylan refuses to sit in the barbers chair. So for now he is more comfortable to be sitting in his push chair while his hair is getting cut.
- As I said some trips to the barbers goes more smoothly, while other times it can be more stressful.
I hope this might be helpful to some other parents that are also finding the trip to the barbers challenging.
lots of love xo