February 14, 2020


Summit Center Updates

Pro Tips: Taking Your Child for a Haircut

Does your child dread going to the hair salon or barbershop? Between the loud noises and touch sensory overload, getting a haircut can be very stressful for many children and families. This is especially true for individuals with autism or other developmental disabilities, where haircuts can easily trigger a small or large meltdown. To help prepare for your next visit, we’ve compiled three tips  to get through your child’s haircut with ease.

Tip 1: Start Young!

If possible, start taking your child for a haircut at a young age. The earlier  your child starts going to the barbershop or salon, the more accustomed they will be to the routine. Going to the same location every time with the same hairdresser may also help. Your child will adjust  to the familiar environment and you will be in and out of your hair appointments in record time. If your child is older,  don’t fret – keep reading for more tips!

Tip 2: Prepare, Prepare, Prepare!

Don’t take your child straight to the salon. Some advance preparation goes a long way! Try taking your child to the salon or barbershop ahead of time to watch others get a haircut. If you can’t make it to the salon, there are plenty of videos on the Internet for them to watch on their own devices. This will help familiarize them to the sounds and environment.

As you might guess, haircuts are sensory overload. Be aware of any triggers that might hinder your child’s haircut experience. The most common are: the feeling of the cape around their neck, getting their hair wet, the sounds of buzzers and hairdryers, and the feeling of a comb running through their hair. Talk to the hair professional ahead of time to explain your situation. There are several hairdressers in the area with experience with children with ASD. Some might even agree to cut your child’s hair at your home, which could reduce environmental stressors.

Tip 3: Remain CALM!

Perhaps the most important thing you can do for your child is to remain calm. Without realizing, your stress could greatly contribute to your child’s stress. Bringing along a favorite treat as positive reinforcement to reward your child’s good behavior (think: their favorite candy, toy, etc.)! It’s also helpful to provide  a distraction during the haircut. Bring a a phone or tablet so your child can focus attention on getting to the next level in their game or watching a video, and you’ll get through the haircut more easily!

If you follow these tips, your kid will be rocking a great new hairdo in no time!