Haircuts can pose a challenge for children with autism and their parents. For many children with autism, sensory sensitivity coupled with high anxiety can make a visit to the hair salon a traumatic experience that ultimately results in a tantrum. The experience is stressful for parents as well, especially if they are visiting a salon that is not familiar with autism. As a result, many parents dread taking their child for a haircut and often put it off as long as they can.
For this reason, I was glad to learn about Snip-its, a unique nationwide franchise of kids’ hair salons. Decked out in bright colors and tons of entertaining games and gadgets, Snip-its salons make haircuts fun for kids. The best part is that all Snip-its hairstylists are trained to work with children with autism. Snip-its salons even offer off-hour appointments to cater to the needs of families of children with autism.
Moreover, in 2009 Snip-its teamed up with Autism Speaks and Melmark New England to create a Haircutting Training Guide and video to help improve haircut experiences for children with autism. The Haircutting Training Guide provides helpful tips for parents and hairstylists, as well as a visual schedule for children, which illustrates each step of getting a haircut. The training video was also developed to help educate hairstylists about giving haircuts to children with autism.
Snip-its’ work to help ease an otherwise traumatic experience for children with autism is commendable. It is encouraging to see more companies like Snip-its making efforts to better serve persons with autism and their families.