A look at how hairdressing and a trip to the salon has become a more autism friendly experience for some people
If you have an autism spectrum condition yourself (or know somebody who has autism, Asperger’s Syndrome and the like), going to the hairdressers can be distressing. There is a multitude of potential sensory issues you might face. Not only in the salon itself, but also the journey.
Waiting is one issue. Unless there’s an ample number of magazines, newspapers, toys, or free WiFi, the wait can be painful and mind numbing. You could be disorientated by the lighting: the lights may be too bright. The interior might not help. Then you’ve the ‘joys’ of loud hair dryers, clippers, even leaning back on the sink, and some physical contact (for example: the clippers on your hair). With all of the above aspects, a recipe for overloading and a meltdown.
Some people without autism spectrum conditions wouldn’t worry about the above issues. If you have a child with an autism spectrum condition, whatever end of the spectrum, you try to avoid the salon as much as possible. In the Republic of Ireland, and South Wales, two barbers have decided to bridge the gap, and well done to them.
Autism Barbers Assemble
Situated on the outskirts of Cardiff, Autism Barbers Assemble is probably the only autie friendly and aspie friendly salon in Wales. So much so that parents have travelled up to 150 miles to take their child to the Welsh capital. Bookings can be made online and the collective is run on a non-profit basis.
The Baldy Barber
Situated in Blackpool, Cork, The Baldy Barber went the extra mile with Evan O’Dwyer, a 16-year-old male with a severe form of autism spectrum condition. As he was about to have his hair done on his own, Evan was close to having a meltdown. After returning to his mother’s car, he was more relaxed. With the help of his brother, also present, Donncha agreed to cut his hair whilst in the car.
Passion Hairdressing and Beauty, 31 May 2017.