Nearly every parent I have met on our autism journey has had a battle with hair cuts in one form or another. I was once told that someone with autism could be so sensitive to having their hair cut that it could be possible that they can feel the hairs being cut.
In 2013 I blogged about how much progress Ethan had made with having his hair cut. It was a massive step for him but in the time that has past we have had regression with this progress. We have got to the point that Ethan was getting so stressed every time he saw our hairdresser that I now cut Ethan’s hair. This has to be done with Darren holding Ethan in place whilst I cut his hair as quickly as possible to he sounds of blood curdling screams. The tears flow from both of us at times and it is a very distressing experience for us all.
We have tried different methods of cutting Ethan’s hair and we have even invested in expensive clippers with different speed settings in the hope that it would help him. None of the methods we tried has made our hair cutting experience better.
The last time I cut Ethan’s hair I asked him if he would help me. He helped me hold the clippers and together we tried to cut his hair. The problem we have is that Ethan hates the clippers around his ears and the back of his head. The hair cut resulted in the crying and the screaming battle but it was worth a try.
This past weekend it was time for the dreaded hair cut again. To prepare Ethan we started to talk about the fact that he needed to have his hair cut on the Saturday, with Sunday being the day that we decided we could face it.
When Sunday arrived and Little E was down for her nap we started the hair cutting process. I asked Ethan if he would like to help me cut his hair and he did. He held the clippers with me and helped me cut the front and top of his head. Normally Darren has to hold Ethan in place but when Darren got too close Ethan he began to get distressed. We decided that Darren should just watch and let me see how I could get on on my own.
It was soon time to cut the hair near Ethan’s ears. Ethan got very distressed so I told him that we needed to cut his hair and I showed him by running his hands over the hair that needed to be cut. To my amazement he let me cut his hair with only a little fight. I then used the same technique for the back of his head and also rested his head on my stomach so that he had some contact pressure.
With very little tears and thankfully no blood curdling screams Ethan’s hair cut was over in the shortest time possible. No one had felt like they had been in a battle, we were so proud of Ethan and I think he was also very proud of himself.
I have no idea if we will have the same hair cutting experience next time but I’m keeping everything crossed that we do.