Most families probably take getting their children’s hair cut for granted as a necessary but “easy” errand. But for some families, it can actually be a highly traumatic experience. Children on the Autism spectrum or those with sensory needs can experience the slightest touch, sound, or sight as extremely uncomfortable. Sharp scissors, buzzing clippers, and a stranger’s hands are all things that can scare a child and cause them to resist and struggle throughout the haircut. If this sounds like a child in your family or a child you know, here are some tips that can help:
- Talk about the service with your child in advance
- Watch this video produced by Snip-its Kids’ Salon with your child before their hair cut.
- Bring a photo of a preferred item to reinforce any reward they will receive for completing the haircut.
- Show your child a visual schedule (fount on page 5) so they know exactly what to expect before, during, and after.
- Practice the steps in the visual schedule at home prior to your visit.
- Visit the salon and play without getting a haircut just to familiarize the child with the surroundings.
At Snip-its Kids Salon, we’ve partnered with Autism Speaks to develop a training program that certifies our stylists to support kids with special needs. Our stylist will get down to the child’s eye level before taking them to the styling chair where they will place their feet on the support bar. The stylist will always show your child the implements before using them and spray the comb with water instead of directly on their head. Throughout the service, the stylist will engage with the child, focusing on their current interests, and encouraging them for doing a good job. Although we’re a walk-in salon, we can work with you to find a time that will increase the chances for a successful haircut.
Contributed by Duc Quan, Snip-Its Kids Hair Salon