They seem like normal, everyday things. Everyone needs to get the odd trim now and then, and here, in the Florida heat, it’s particularly important.
But to our sensitive children, a haircut is not a tedious necessity. It’s torture-by-hair.
I first started wondering what the story was when I brought my sweet, happy boy to get his hair cut. And instead of being adorable and charming, he scowled the entire time. For an entire twenty minutes.
The hairdresser was upset. And rightfully so. It’s their job to make customers happy and give good haircuts. So when they see someone who doesn’t react well… they worry.
But of course it wasn’t her fault. It was my son who was upset, and it had nothing to do with the end result. It was all about the sensitivity factor.
Messing about with his hair – which is a must when cutting – hurt him. And he’s not alone. Again and again, I hear the same story, whether it’s about washing hair or cutting it. Many Asperger kids – and adults – are very sensitive to the touch. Which means that pulling their hair to and fro actually causes pain and discomfort.
We finally found a solution.
A new hair salon opened up nearby. I kept hearing friends rave about it, and decided one day to check it out. They had – wait for it – television sets there.
Ah, the magic of tv. And distraction. Each station – and thus each hairdresser – has its own tv, and they put on whatever channel the customer wants.
I saw my son smile and laugh through a haircut.
Obviously, what works for one person may not work for another. My son doesn’t watch much tv, so it was a treat and a distraction all wrapped up in one. Just enough of a distraction for him to not focus on the discomfort.
We’ve been going there for years now, and it hasn’t gotten old. He still enjoys the experience – well, complains up front, and then happily settles down to watch cartoons – and I can choose to go on their child discount days to save money.
And I can stop worrying about whether that overgrown mess on his head is going to grow legs and walk away.