Haircuts. We all have them. Many of us even enjoy them.
Not Sawyer. Not Autism. Not Sensory Processing Disorder.
Snip, snip, snip, right next to his ears. Sharp, shiny metal. The feeling of having his hair pulled. The sight of something that belongs to his body falling down and on to the floor. The itch of teeny, tiny hairs all over his face and neck. Trying to wipe them away, but only making it worse with each swipe.
For a long time I left his hair to grow longer simply because he hated having it cut so much. But lately the sensation of hair on his forehead started to really upset him and so we knew it was time to brave the barbers once again.
Here are my top 5 tips for what makes a trip to the Barber Shop as comfortable for Sawyer as possible (and as stress free as possible for me!):
- Find a good barber! Get recommendations from friends who have children. Check reviews. If you think your child would be more comfortable at home, try to find someone who will pay you a home-visit.
- Call in advance. Don’t be afraid to explain that your child has sensory issues, and tell them exactly what those issues are likely to be (ie. they can’t sit for long periods of time, they have a phobia of the scissors, they are unable to reply to questions easily, etc).
- Start to go more regularly. It sounds absurd to put your child through the process regularly, but think about it – the more frequently you go, the less hair needs to be cut off, and the less time your child will need to spend in the chair!
- Use your child’s special interest (if they have one) to distract them during the haircut. Our local barber spent 20 minutes chatting to Sawyer about Super Mario. His knowledge was impressive! I’m not sure if he will be as up to scratch with his Thomas the Tank Engine knowledge, but I’ll be honest – I’m a bit excited to find out.
- Try to relax. If you’re anxious about the process then your child will be anxious too. Deep breaths, big smiles, and off you go!
Have you seen this video of a barber lying on the floor to cut an autistic boy’s hair? Makes my heart melt!