Supercuts Employee's Simple Act Helps Boy With Autism Feel Comfortable Getting a Cut
Kathleen Tarzwell tweeted a photo of her 7-year-old son Braeden, who has autism, at Supercuts in Media, Pennsylvania, after he received a haircut on Saturday. Tarzwell credited their hairdresser, a woman named Christine, for her patience — and for pretending to give Braeden’s stuffed platypus, Perry, a buzzcut.
Because of sensory overload and the anxiety surrounding the experience, haircuts can be difficult for people on the autism spectrum. So watching Perry “get a cut” helped comfort Braeden.
“13 minute haircut today thanks to Christine and Perry being brave enough to get his haircut too,” Tarzwell wrote on Twitter.
“Before going to Supercuts… Sometimes I would even allow [Braeden’s] hair to grow for six months to avoid putting him through what looked like torture to him,” Tarzwell explained to The Mighty in an email. “Christine always likes to physically show him the clippers won’t hurt. Perry the platypus is everything to Braeden.”
Tarzwell has been vocal about showing her thanks to those who have made a difference in her son’s life — her overall mission is to promote inclusion for people with autism. Last month Tarzwell wrote an article on The Mighty about a local waitress whose kind act (again including Perry) moved her to tears.
“When Braeden saw Christine cape Perry like she does with him, and ‘cut’ his fur, it was like reliving the day at Bittersweet Kitchen when the waitress brought Perry a plate of food,” Tarzwell told The Mighty. “We need more Christine the Hairdresser and Heidi the Waitress in the world, because all anyone wants, autism or not, is to feel accepted.”
Tarzwell sent the photo and story to Love What Matters yesterday, which was then shared on their Facebook page. She again expressed her gratitude, and revealed that the family previously had some very negative experiences with hairdressers:
My son has autism, haircuts have been somewhat challenging for him. We spent 4 years bouncing from salon to salon, a new one almost every haircut – and we’ve even been asked to leave mid haircut at a barbershop. We’ve been going to Supercuts in Media for almost a year now, and I want them to know how truly grateful I am for their patience, understanding, and more than anything acceptance. Christine has become our regular hairdresser and today she gave Perry a haircut too, and that means the world to Braeden.
And this isn’t the first time a Supercuts staffer has stepped it up in the salon with a client. In January hairstylist Julia Werder received praise from Laura Connerton for getting on the floor to cut the hair of Connerton’s 11-year-old daughter, who has a rare genetic disorder and autism.