Haircuts

Adrienne - posted on 07/30/2011 ( 19 moms have responded )

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My almost 4 year olds has high functioning autism. He doesn't have much in the way of sensory problems but his reactions to hair cuts have been getting worse and worse. He usually makes a fuss but is controllable but today he was absolutely terrible. He is too big now for me to hold still and in the end we just gave up.

Does any one have any advice? Does it ever get better?

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Heather - posted on 08/11/2011

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see adrienne, seems like most of the posts suggest that things do get better..i chose saturdays salon cause it does the whole family, is cheap, and most of all: don't have to make an appt..cause u never know how your autistic child is going to feeling or acting at any certain time when booking things in advance..also i took him to his favorite place, bass pro shops to watch the fish and alligators the day before..then when i was taking him to get his hair cut, i explained several times that if he sat still and was a good boy we were going to go see the fish and alligators again..but it was very fresh in his mind since we were there the day before..also ladies, not only don't give up but don't let your school give u a hard time either..my son never had hair in his eyes, i always made sure that part was trimmed..but it was a constant question of when was it getting cut, then teachers assistant wanted to do it herself at school! when principal said no i literally got a call about fake lice! the school nurse wasn't there that day..how convenient..told me to just buzz off all his hair as soon as i got home to prevent infection all thru my house..glad i took the time to look in his hair for a couple hours actually..found nothing..im a nurse so i know what they look like..went back up to school of course they couldn't show me anything either..then a week or so later haircuts were mentioned again..wouldn't u know my son had teacher's scissors and cut a huge lock of hair! yeah right! um not in a strait line and i couldn't have cut that much off in one snip w/my haircutting scissors..

Christie - posted on 08/09/2011

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YES....it gets better!! My 8 year old has aspergers with sensory issues and haircuts have always been a HUGE challenge. Don't give up and don't feel bad that your 4 year old is difficult while getting his haircut! YOU ARE NOT ALONE!! Make sure you have a stylist that is patient and understands that he does have some exceptionalities. Many children who are not autistic and who don't have sensory issues still have problems with haircuts! Hang in there!!
I think it was when my son was 7 that he finally relaxed a bit. However, he's still not a fan of getting his haircut. I usually bring an extra shirt, the stylist tries to mimimize the amount of hair that gets on him by using a cape and a towel around his neck, and she brushes off his neck with a brush with powder (not sure what it's called). I am also a strong believer in positive reinforcement. Try not to get too frustrated or upset, (I know it's so hard) but if you stay calm, he is more likely to follow suit.
I've certainly come a long way, myself. I was always humiliated when he acted this way, but it is what it is, and he is what he is. I still have many challenging days with him, but the rewarding ones are much more frequent as he gets older. Good luck...it's going to be fine....just give it some time! smile

Angela - posted on 08/07/2011

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I have the same situation with my son robert who is now 8. Just to give some hope, we found a wonderful lady who's son is autistic also who is very understanding and trys to schedule him when there is barely anyone there and we go slowly. My son at that age was like your, to try and give some hope we just got his school haircut with barely any meltdowns. Don't give up! I know how you feel. Hang in there you are not alone. Goodluck. Just know though you think nobody knows what you are going through there are way too many. We all are there for you in spirit and know that it is possible:)

Crystal - posted on 08/03/2011

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I had my son pick where he gets his hair done. Went to many places before he picked one. Then it still took till he was ready to get it done. I just stopped cutting his hair but twice a year. He is now 8 and just recently have we been able to go every 3 months and stopped holding him down. At one point it took 4 Adults to cut his hair and we just buzzed it all off as fast as the lady could no special look just off. Sorry it seams to take forever and we still have problems.

Eileen - posted on 08/03/2011

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My 7 yr old son, Braydon, has autism, eplipsey & adhd. He is high functioning but his behavior is the biggest challenge through out every single day...He was the same way after his first haircut at mall, bc the clippers freaked him out & he swears they hurt him, after that he wouldnt let anyone, we went everywhere even a friend came to the house. I taught myself to cut hair & he would let me cut just a little bit a day...It took forever but each time he needed a hair cut he let me cut more & more. Now I cut my husbands, middle son's & Braydon's hair. Braydon walks around playing as normal as I cut their hair & then I wait for him to talk abt it & he will sit down & ask for a hair cut. I have done it so long I can cut pretty fast & he does better every time. Braydon is able to use a pair of safety scissors, with me watching & cut a baby dolls hair. IDK if your son can or not. Its like hitting a brick wall so often that we turn things into jokes or silly things...I by no means have it figured out, but here's my experience with haircuts.

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Sarah - posted on 08/09/2011

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My son used to have a really hard time getting his hair cut. He had a hard time sitting still and just plain hated his haircuts. He would just cry and I felt awful like I was torturing him. Fortunately we had a really patient hairdresser who was extremely understanding. To get him to sit still we'd give him dum dums. Even that didn't work all the time, but over time he got used to getting his hair cut. He's almost six now and doesn't mind his haircut at all. We'll give him a hair clip to play with and sometimes he doesn't need that. We still can't get him to let her use the clippers due to his sensory prob.

Eileen - posted on 08/03/2011

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PS, To me, Youtube is a visual google...You can learn how to do wnything on there. Just thought if you were nervous abt cutting hair that would help...

Jackie - posted on 08/03/2011

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We had the same reactions. Is his haircut with shears or clippers? Clippers and trimmers were NOT an option. Made matters much worse. there are places that are good for Aspies, Autism...etc kiddos....you need someone who is not at a "hair banging" place that can book themself out for whatever time will be needed and the stylist needs to give him a step by step explanation of what she is doing BEFORE she does it.

Coralie - posted on 08/02/2011

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When my son wa little I had to cut it while he was asleep..was tuff getting it even if he wouldn't turn ova! When he got older he would throw a fit if I took him to the hairdressers so I go a friend he trusted to take him, for us this broke the routine and now he goes with me. He hates the clippers and prefers the scisors and the cutter must b quick coz even 5 minutes is too long!

Kimberly - posted on 08/02/2011

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My son hates haircuts also. So much so while waiting for his turn he kicks me, pinches me, runs around, knocks things over, and just makes the experience terrible for all involved. We are lucky that our hairdresser is very patient with us and understanding of our situation. As for advice we find a reward system very helpful. We over a treat for the specific task we wan him to do. Usually it means he can pick a special snack from the store. He loves beef jerky so that usually works. While I can't say it works for everyone, the reward system was suggested to us by our psychiatrist and we have had some wonderful success with it.

Jennifer - posted on 08/02/2011

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My son, who is almost 6, is high functioning also. I used to have a really big problem when I would take him for haircuts. Now all I have to do is hold my hands over his ears while his hair is being cut and he doesn't freak out. It took a while to get to this step. I had to use some bargaining and bribing along the way lol. The last time we went, I was able to take my hands off of his ears while she wasn't cutting near them also.





Oh! And I found someone that is really good with him. If you happen to be as lucky, make sure you always take him back to the same person!

Latrice - posted on 08/02/2011

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My 7 year old has a few sensory issues. He doesn't like things touching his face and he doesn't like certain sounds. He's been surprisingly good with haircuts. I allow him to take his favorite game and award him with his favorite food afterwards. My husband takes him now so he enjoys seeing his dad get a haircut too.

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I also had problems with my son getting his hair cut. One hairdresser I took him too when he was little, allowed him to squirt her mirror with the water bottle while she cut his hair. This gave him a distraction without too much of a problem. Gradually it got to a stage where, if he sat still while his hair was cut, then he could have the water bottle to water her plants afterwards. When that hairstylist closed her shop, I started taking him to a friends home but she had to cut his hair with scissors only. He would not allow her to use the clippers. It has only been in the past two years (He's nearly 16!) that he has allowed the clippers near his head.
I suggest you find whatever it is that will give him peace and the hairstylist is happy to allow, while she cuts his hair.

Carol - posted on 08/02/2011

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My undiagnosed aspergers son is almost 11 and we still haven't taken him to a real barber yet. Every time I suggest it he wigs out a little. This is the only thing that he's had that kind of reaction to. He hates the hairs falling onto his neck. Our solution is to use clippers and a vacuum simultaneously. Sound obviously is not an issue for him.
I think I could force the issue, but honestly, why bother? It's cheaper to do it myself and I've gotten pretty good at it. My husband and other son get their cuts from me at the same time and we save about 40 bucks every couple of months. As he gets older I keep telling him that a professional would do a better job, but he still wants me to do it. I guess I'll have to teach him to give himself haircuts before he moves out.

Laura - posted on 08/02/2011

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My son is 3 1/2 and haircuts have been a nightmare for us. He is getting better but still not quite there. The last time I gave him the warning the day before that we would be going the next day so he was prepared. We also promised him a milkshake after if he did a good job of holding it together. While we waited we talked about everyone else (including daddy) getting their hair cut and how none of them cried during the haircut. It was the best one yet..still some tears but overall very good. He got his milkshake after and that will be the routine from now on.

Jenny - posted on 08/02/2011

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I realised with my lad that he hated anything on his face... hated getting his hair washed or cut. I came up with the solution for both. Washing his hair I let him hold a facecloth above his face so that he doesn't have water washing over his face. Haircuts, I give him some tissues. He holds them against his forehead to stop hair from falling on his face. Allowing him to do the holding also gives him a sense of control over the process. Lack of control is the cause of lots of problems and behaviours of kids with ASDs, so giving them control in things like this can work wonders.

Sheila - posted on 08/01/2011

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Hi Adrienne,

My son has overcome a lot of sensory issues...huge. Getting his hair cut was a nightmare...so I cut his hair while he slept.

He is 7 now, and doing much better...but he is terrified of a barbar/stylist. I cut his hair. He is now awake when I do it (thank goodness, thick curly hair so I can't really mess it up). We have talked about going to a stylist, but I think that is still a couple of years away...he has also told me he wants hair like a rock and roll dude. EEKS!

Sheila

Diane - posted on 07/31/2011

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I have 5yo boy with high functioning austism. Haircuts were a nightmare. Now a breeze.

He was always a problem with haircuts and then one day he had a major meltdown and like you we couldnt hold him in place. So we took him off the chair and we sat on the couch for about 5 minutes and told him that if he didnt have the hair cut then he would have to sit on the couch for the time he should have been getting it cut. In other words, he was not allowed out of the shop, now was he allowed to play. He cannot be rewarded for this.

We came back the next day, and the hairdresser combed his hair while he stood up. He then agreed to sit on the chair and get his hair combed. But no cape and no scissors (clippers are out of the question even now).

We came back again the next day, and he hopped up on the chair and let her comb his hair, and she also cut his hair a little bit (say 30 seconds worth). He didnt mind that but didnt want any more.

So we came back again the next week (about 3 or 4 days later) and he sat there and had a full hair cut. But still no cape. he also had a few toys to play with while getting it done (cars mostly). For about a year of this, his hair was uneven all the time (fringe was usually straight but not the rest) as it had to be done so fast, and he wouldnt allow it to be corrected. Also, didnt like the scissors near his ears.

Now, he doesnt seem to care, and wears a cape. He also let a friend of ours cut his hair last time. So he has progressed enormously, from not allowing it at all, to quick cuts, always with the same lady (HIS hairdresser Julie) and now to not really caring about it.

At the same time, he also progressed with having his hair washed, as that was as big a nightmare, and much more regular.

the clue, is little steps and consistency. I never thought we could get to this stage, but we did.

Heather - posted on 07/31/2011

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wow, been there..i tried everything..ended up doing it myself most of the time..then the last time i did, he got so upset i cried! so i called a few local places and found a saturdays hair care that had a few autistic clients..i took the booster seat for the table so he could be strapped in..he is 4yr old also..the lady was wonderful w/him..took her time explaining..and i had done alot of explaining prior to taking him..told him how handsome he was going to be..he doesn't care for suckers but up there he loved em..even kept his hands under the cape! i thought it was a fluke..but took him back again to same person and he did great..! she is fast but very patient w/him..she uses clippers and then scissors on the top..but her clippers are really quiet compared to mine..lol..hope that helps..also he will be 5 august 10th..so maybe the worst is about over for you..or so i hope..she won't let me hold his head or anything cause she knows it freaks him out..

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