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Navigating Haircut Time: A Guided Approach for Parents of Autistic Children by Sivan Hong

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Kid getting a haircut

Being a parent of an autistic child can come with its own unique set of challenges. One seemingly mundane activity that might present an uphill task is taking your child for a haircut. The environment in a salon or barbershop – the bright lights, the noise, the unfamiliar people, and the strange sensations – can be overwhelming for an autistic child. However, by employing a few strategic measures, you can transform this experience into a more manageable and perhaps even enjoyable one. Here are a few tips to help your child get a haircut with less anxiety. 

  1. Opt for After-Hour Services

If possible, arrange for your child’s haircut to happen after regular hours. This way, the salon will be less crowded and noisy, creating a calming environment for your child. A lot of salons are becoming more inclusive and understanding of the needs of children with autism, and some may even offer quiet hours for just such purposes. This consideration can significantly reduce the overstimulation that a bustling salon might otherwise cause. 

  1. Embrace the Sunglasses Trend

Bright salon lights can be another source of discomfort for autistic children. To combat this, consider having your child wear sunglasses during their haircut. This simple intervention can significantly reduce the sensory input from the bright lights and make the experience much more comfortable for them. 

  1. Pack Familiar or Unscented Products

Salons use a variety of products that may have strong, unfamiliar scents that can trigger sensory sensitivities. To navigate this, bring your child’s regular, unscented or familiar-smelling shampoos and hair products. This small adjustment can make a big difference by making the experience feel more familiar and less intrusive for your child. 

autism haircut
  1. Prefer Scissors Over Clippers

The buzzing noise and the vibrations from clippers can be quite disturbing to an autistic child. Using scissors instead can make the haircut a quieter and less startling experience. Make sure you communicate this preference to your stylist beforehand, so they can plan the haircut accordingly. 

  1. Consider a Face Shield

If your child is sensitive to the feeling of cut hair falling on their face or neck, a lightweight face shield might be a great solution. It can prevent hair from touching the face, without being as intrusive or uncomfortable as a tight or itchy cape. Don’t forget to let your child familiarize themselves with the face shield before the haircut. 

 

Remember, patience and understanding are key. It might take several attempts and a fair bit of trial-and-error to find out what works best for your child. Preparing your child beforehand about what to expect, using social stories or visual aids, can also be extremely helpful. It’s also a good idea to familiarize the hairdresser with your child’s needs and preferences. With these strategies in hand, a trip to the hair salon can be transformed from a stress-filled ordeal into a more manageable and even positive experience. Happy hair-cutting! 

Sivan Hong

Sivan Hong

Instagram: @sivan_hong_author
Website: https://sivanhong.com
Language: English

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