A lot of children hate getting their hair cut. If the boredom doesn’t cause them to wriggle out of their seats, then the clippers are too loud, or they just don’t like the style it feels.
For children on the autism spectrum — about 1 in every 45 kids — those problems are greatly intensified.
6-year-old Wyatt from Quebec, for example, deals with both hyper- and hyposensitivity. Having his hair touched coupled with the noise from the hair cutting equipment causes him major anxiety.
Wyatt’s challenges have been a struggle even for experienced stylists to manage in the past, as his mom, Fauve Lafreniere, told WDRB.
Everything changed when Wyatt’s mom procured a barber willing to go the extra mile for her son.
And now that barber is an internet hero.
Franz Jacob at Authentischen Barbier in Quebec has been cutting Wyatt’s hair for two years now and has learned a lot about how to construct the process as comfy for his young client as possible.
Jacob locks the front doorway of the salon to keep people from walking in during the cut. He also keeps the store as quiet as possible and is willing to keep at it for however long it takes to finish — sometimes hours.
Recently, a photo of Jacob lying on the floor next to Wyatt while finishing a trim went viral, stealing the hearts of millions across the web .
Kerry Magro, an autism proponent, gives out a few tips-off to barbers who want to accommodate children with autism.
Things like: offer up a “game plan” of exactly what’s going to happen and use a treat or prize at the end as a reward.( Calming Clippers also generated a directory that can be a good starting point to find autism-friendly barbers in your region .)
But Jacob says he never had any specialized training or even much experience in dealing with kids who have autism. “I only figured it out, ” by watching Wyatt closely, he says in a message.
Not many people would be willing to lay on the floor to finish a few-dollar haircut. But a little bit of extra caring goes a long way.
Little gestures like Jacob’s can build the world a lot more welcoming for people of all ages with autism.
But it’s not just barber shops and salons. Some typically loud, chaotic Chuck E. Cheese locations are now offering Sensory Sensitive Sundays, hours or designated hours where the music and illuminations come down for a calmer experience to help reduce sensory overload. Kid-mecca Toys R Us stores in the U.K. have incorporated a similar experience, with schemes of it being implemented in the U.S. soon. Some movie theaters use the approach( sound low, illuminations somewhat up) to accommodate not only young children, but teens and adults too.
As for Jacob, he says now that term is spreading, other mothers are bring back kids like Wyatt to his shop for haircuts, driving hours simply to do so, and he’s even started dedicating trims to late-stage cancer patients. “I take great pride in doing all this for my community, ” he says.
It’s awesome to ensure retailers big and small espousing what constructs some of their clients unique and stepping up to the plate to accommodate those differences.
Make sure to visit: CapGeneration.com