Style Em for Hair’s Gee recently introduced M’s Hour at her salon, so that children and youth who typically struggle getting haircuts can now get them done in a more comfortable environment. For more, click here.

For some children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), haircuts can be an uncomfortable experience. Not so long ago, we witnessed this at our hair salon, Style Em For Hair, when a wonderful young boy simply refused one.

Despite this, we knew that there must be a way to make our salon a more comfortable environment. After a short conversation with the young boy and his mum, we made some adjustments and had a really successful haircut.  

This inspired us to make a regular change and begin M’s Hour, to ensure children and their parents feel more comfortable in our salon. So, what changes did we make and what can we all learn from the experience?

What do we do?

Young boy and mum walk into hair salon

We offer M’s Hour every second Tuesday afternoon, although we make sure that times and days can be flexible if needed. When people make their bookings, we also consult with them to gain as much information as we can – for example, is there a particular part of a haircut that is disliked?

During the hour, and after much research, we decided to make a number of adjustments to make children with ASD feel more comfortable, including:

  • Playing no loud music
  • Making sensory toys and IPADs available
  • Offering colouring books
  • Allowing 1-hour appointments (to account for breaks if necessary)
  • Having only two children in the salon at one time
  • Preparing a schedule and social story for the appointment.

What have we discovered?

Child in Hair Salon

We’ve only recently started M’s Hour, but we’ve come up with some practical tips to help make haircuts easier. Parents will probably know many of these things, but here we go:

  • If children dislike the sound of buzzing caused by clippers, we encourage parents to bring ear plugs (that is, if ear plugs are something that work for the child of course!)
  • We recommend developing a routine for haircuts, so that appointments can be scheduled on the same time and day.
  • We tell parents not to hesitate in bringing a child’s favourite food or toy along to a haircut–this can often be used as a reward.
  • We provide a visual supports and schedules so a child can see the routine of the cut and become prepared (click here).
  • We believe it’s important to keep a child’s haircut simple to start with–as a child develops a relationship with our stylists, they can then request more style in the cut.
  • We encourage parents to step away from their child and stylist after the first few minutes (if possible), so that the stylist can work with the child independently.
  • We also allow parents to bring their child for a casual visit to the salon so that they can become familiarised with it. We get parents to ring beforehand so we can ensure the salon is not too busy and overwhelming.

What can we learn?

Child getting a haircut

By transforming our salon for children and youth who struggle with haircuts, we’ve made it become a much more comfortable place. And the important thing? These little hints and adjustments aren’t just limited to salons. A lot of these changes can be made in other areas or sectors..

It’s all about thinking outside the box and coming up with new ideas to ensure more and more people feel comfortable.

This post is brought to you by Clickability. We’re working towards a better disability service sector by helping users share their ratings and reviews. We invite you to write a review.

Tristram’s Suggested Blogs

Reply to this blog post