How to Make a Haircut Enjoyable for a Child on the Autism Spectrum
Haircuts can be traumatic for children on the autism spectrum. For years, my husband and I dreaded giving our son a haircut. He screamed and fought the entire time. It took a long time and at the end of a haircut, we were all exhausted. It broke our hearts to see what this did to him. We came up with different ideas and ways to approach the haircuts, but every time ended up being a nightmare. We even took him to a salon where he watched his older brother and sister get their hair cut thinking he would feel good about being part of everything — that turned out to be a disaster.
Eventually, we did come up with a stress-free approach. We realized Michael could not stand the sound of scissors or clippers, so we put earbuds in his ears and let him watch a favorite video. We prepared him with showing him pictures and we watched videos of other children on the spectrum getting there hair cut. We would lay everything out that we were going to use and let him touch everything. His stress levels slowly went down and he seemed to enjoy haircuts after only a short time.
We also let him help hold the clippers, the brush and blowdryer. This made him feel like he had control. The scissors took a bit longer, but we got there. Also, we learned that he hated combs and even one tiny piece of hair on his skin would send him into a complete meltdown. We put something over him now to protect him from hair and he always wears a long sleeve shirt when we do his cuts.
To every parent and caregiver out there and for every child with autism, this is such a mountain to climb. We get it.
I really feel that this video will help you through this and completely change how haircuts are done.