Haircuts for Kids With Autism
Haircuts are a lot to ask of any kid. The sitting still. The patience. The pair of scary scissors coming too close for comfort. Not to mention a salon full of customers and equipment that can’t be played with or bumped into. But when a child has autism, all of these components make trims a nearly impossible task. Recently, and just in time for Autism Awareness Month, I heard about Snip-its, an incredible national chain of hair salons for kids that specializes in working with children with autism. The franchise partnered with Autism Speaks to learn how to make the experience autism-friendly so every child can have a comfortable cut. All of the stylists are certified to work with children with autism, and they offer a haircutting guide for parents on how to prepare kids for a trip to the salon. But the fun part for the kiddos is that the salons are designed to look like a fantasy land of bright colors and characters, with games and TVs at each station to keep them occupied as the stylists work.
Melissa Hartwell, whose son Michael has autism, first discovered Snip-its when she brought Michael’s older brother in to get a haircut. Michael used to have to get his trims at school where the teacher would distract him with an activity and cut a small portion of his hair at a time while he was kept busy—sometimes having to stop before the job was complete. “Michael was always in a transition of haircuts. One day maybe they worked on the right side, the next day maybe the left,” says Melissa in her video of Michael’s experience. But when she brought Michael into Snip-its, he was so at ease that he let the stylist cut his hair right then and there—something Melissa never would have expected. “When you have a child with autism who has a lot of challenges to overcome, something as simple as being able to get a successful haircut means so much,” says Melissa.
Visit Snipits.com to find a location near you or learn more about the different services offered (such as birthday parties, lice prevention, and other kiddie spa services).
Image: One of the Snip-its salons, courtesy of Snip-its.
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