Saturday, January 12, 2008

Autism and Haircuts, Conor Visits Linda at the Cutter's Edge

Conor, earlier this week, before his haircut

Conor, after his haircut, yesterday

I have commented about haircuts and autism, or at least haircuts and Conor who has Autism Disorder, in the past. He is very sensitive to sounds and sights and to being in a confined space with other people very physically close to him, occupying his space. Years ago a haircut meant Dad holding Conor while the barber cut his hair with Conor's hands, and sometimes his teeth, digging into Dad's shoulder. With time simple desensitization has taken some of the ordeal out of a haircut for Conor - and Dad. This year at school Conor's UNB-CEL Autism Intervention Trained Teacher Aides have practiced with Conor at school, putting him in a similar chair with a cloth over him, imitating a visit to the barber.

Over the years we have also taken Conor to the same person to get his haircuts - Linda, at the Cutter's Edge, in the Brookside Mall in Fredericton. Conor knows Linda and that makes it easier in itself. But Linda also has the skills, the personality, the experience working with Conor, and the willingness to work with him. A haircut for Conor is an event that is always filled with some anxiety and when it goes well, when it goes smoothly, as it did once again yesterday, we very much appreciate it.

Thank you Linda.

1 comment:

jypsy said...

Haircuts went from 2 people holding Alex while the hairdresser cut, to him being disappointed when his 2 brothers were getting cuts and he was just along for the ride.

Where we went they had a section for kids, instead of chairs they sit on little animals (like those mall rides). They had a VCR and I took tapes I knew would get his attention (I had a Woody Woodpecker tape set aside just for hair cuts). The people who worked there were great. I let them know what he didn't like (squirting water on his head, blow dryers, touching his neck at all..) He got very good at following their directions to put his head up or down, hold still etc.

It no longer matters where we go, haircuts are a non issue. Just don't touch his neck or he'll laugh hysterically!