Some people have a monthly or bi-monthly appointment to get their luscious locks trimmed, while others try to put off getting a haircut as long as possible until they just can’t continue to hold out. Haircuts present unique issues for kids with autism, causing discomfort or even fear. Kids with autism have to face sensory issues when getting a haircut including the buzzing from clippers, the squirts from water bottles and the general atmosphere can be overwhelming. At Lexington, we are always trying to make sure that parents and caregivers are provided with quality resources to make these life moments a bit less stressful. Here are some ways that you can make haircuts a little less difficult in the future.
Start Haircuts At Home
While not every parent has success with home cuts, most parents of kids with autism find that it’s easier to give haircuts at home or in a different type of 1 on 1 situation. Salons and barbershops can be loud and distracting, causing sensory overload for kids with autism. At home, the environment is comfortable and haircuts can take as long they need to. As a parent, it’s a lot easier to deal with meltdowns at home and get kids accustomed to haircuts before taking them for a professional cut.
Introduce Sensory Concerns Slowly
Buzzers, electric razors, certain kinds of brushes and other utensils for haircuts can cause overload, but they are part of any trim and kids will have to contend with them at some point. The way that you can help them prepare for all the more difficult aspects of getting a haircut in public. Start with water spray bottles and the introduction of water implements that can be uncomfortable and then move to brushes. Some brushes can be particularly difficult to deal with for kids with autism, so make sure to check out the forums to see which brushes are the best. Finally, start with clippers and shavers at home. Some kids eventually adjust to the odd sensation and close buzzing, but some kids can’t handle it at all.
Don’t Feel Bad About Using Distractions
Sometimes we have to be the parents that resort to distracting kids with certain things or rewarding them consistently for the good of their health. If your child has issues with haircuts, they may get a sense of ease from being able to watch their favorite movies or shows, listen to their favorite songs or have a trusted person distracting them with stories. Some kids are also able to deal with the discomfort from haircuts for promised rewards, especially rewards that they don’t get for any other task. This makes getting a trim bearable at least.
Find Creative Solutions
Haircuts for kids with autism are a constant point of discussion and anxiety among parents of kids with autism. Part of being an autism parent is recognizing that you just have to be a little creative to help your child manage the same tasks and have the same experiences as their peers. For some kids, their issues with haircuts have to do with getting water in their eyes during the washing phase or hair in their eyes during a cut. Some parents have found that employing a simple set of swimming goggles can help with that situation, as long as they don’t impede the cut too much. Others still have found that technology of the 80’s still works today, because at least some online sources said their kids were fine with cuts from a Flowbee haircutting device. Whatever strategy works to help kids manage their needs and sensory issues during these situations is probably a good strategy.
Does your child often struggle with sensory issues? Sensory Integration Therapy has proven to help many of our members to manage their sensory overload moments and formulate a meaningful way to deal with those moments. Since you stopped by for this information today, please sign the Lexington guest book and we’ll give you free access to an in-depth look at what Sensory Integration Therapy has done at Lexington Services!