How does your child handle haircuts? Has it changed over time? Maybe they don't love it, but have just gotten used to it, as a part of their life. My son, whose hair I keep very short, got his first haircut at 1 years old, he is now 13. Back when he was little, it was so very tough for him, and for me as his mom to watch and listen to. There were so many things that bothered him about the process. The sitting still, wearing a cape, the fallen hair itching his skin, the sound of the buzzer so close to his ears. All very understandable things. I wondered if it would ever get easier. A simple thing like a haircut......SO tough to get through!
Over the years the progress was slow. At times I wanted to pull my own hair out, but we kept at it. Every four weeks, almost to the day, he would have his appointment, and.....it DID get easier! As he got older, I noticed him getting a little more tolerant. I no longer have to bring a change of clothes, he wears a cape! While I can tell that the fallen hair and the buzzer still make him feel a little uncomfortable, he has learned to deal with it.
I think in our case, consistency was a major factor in him becoming more tolerant. This was not something that was going away, it was part of his life. I tell him the day he has an appointment so he can start thinking about it. I also promise him a small reward, something small, maybe a special snack that he doesn't get to have often. This is very motivating for him. Probably the most important thing you can do, is find the right person to give the haircut. You may have to try out a few people or places until you find someone who clicks with your child. It will be worth it in the end. We have been lucky to have the same wonderful person, Diane, all these years, yup, from 1 to 13! If she moves to a new shop, we go with her. Currently she work at Doodle Doo's on Christopher Street. Her patience and understanding have no doubt contributed to the the changes we have witnessed. Diane counts with him, sings with him, whatever it takes!
Haircuts for us have gone from 40 minutes of crying and moving around to 15 minutes of quietly sitting still. Again, not overnight, but over years. If your child struggles, I promise you, it can get better. I know how very stressful, as a parent, haircuts can be. We just want it to be over. My suggestions are to be consistent, find a motivational reward and find the right person, and as always, try to stay calm.
An Advocate for Anyone with Autism or for Anyone That Knows Someone with Autism