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  • Jen Gonda

Haircuts for Children with Sensory Needs

It's haircut day! The day you have been looking forward to. To become a new you. It's the day we think about what color to dye our hair, what style, and how bold we actually want it to be. You walk in and the smell of chemicals, shampoo and perfumes releases endorphins into your body. The bright lights everywhere make you feel like a superstar. The barber makes small talk as they drape a cape over your body. You feel the cold scissors against your skin and the buzzing of a razor on the back of your neck. The experience ends with a warm summer breeze from a blow dryer. You feel hands run through your hair tugging

lightly. You close your eyes just in time before the hairspray hits you, leaving your skin sticky.

For many, this sensory experience is overwhelming and haircuts become a bad experience. But why? Maybe it's a sound like nails on a chalkboard makes your hair stand up or creates tension in your body. But for others, it could be the brightness of the lights that feel like a thousand burning suns against their skin. The feeling of being damp, cold, or even wet is distressing and the small quiet chatter could be amplified to the highest volume. The smells could be powerful enough to have a person refuse to enter the place at all.

This is exactly why Community Behavior Consulting and The Fresh Experience have teamed up to provide haircuts for children with sensory needs. We have included many different accommodations such as:

  • Experienced hair dressers able to provide male and female cuts to wiggly children

  • Low volume cutters

  • A sensory room or play room while waiting

  • A television during the haircut

  • Wiggle seat

  • Individual haircut (no other customers present)

  • Handicap accessible building, including bathroom (which has changing table)

  • And understanding and caring support staff

And we plan to be to introduce more supports as we evolve across each date!


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Each person brings different experiences to World Autism Day. Autistic people, parents, teachers, direct service providers, and community members all have different views of what autism means to them.