It seems to be a thing with people on the spectrum that haircuts are hell. My boys both buy into this thought process quite easily. I can totally understand it, as having someone in your personal space is quite distressing, then add to that someone you don’t know, talking to you, and the discomfort as the cut hair lands on your shoulders, and even worse, your face. When looking at it like that, it is a stressful situation, asking to be avoided at all costs.
The boy’s hair, is so different, it is unbelievable.
M has inherited his Dads hair, very light – he was quite a blondie when little, but it is darkening to a dirty blonde now, and it is totally straight. It is beautiful hair, and has leant itself perfectly to not being cut often, and he is known for his bobbed look, he lets me trim his fringe when it gets itchy in his eyes, but that has been about it. I think the movement of his hair is quite a sensory thing for him, as he does flick his hair quite a lot, and I am sure it is the movement of it, as well as the ability to hide behind it! A couple of time, we have managed to get his hair cut, but when it is really short, it doesn’t really look like him!
D has inherited his hair from my side of the family. He has the most beautiful thick ginger curls. My maternal grandmother apparently had the most beautiful auburn hair so is a throw back to there, but I like to think it was the years I spent having copper low-lights had seeped into my system and come out in D!!! When I was pregnant with D I was very unwell for the whole time, and had several additional scans to make sure he was doing alright. I had a scan about 2 weeks before he was born, and it frightened the life out of me because was totally convinced I was having a boy, and the thought of a girl had never entered my mind, and then I saw the picture of my baby in my womb, and the only thing that was noticeable was his hair! Suddenly I wondered if I was having a girl and I wasn’t ready for that idea, but lucky he was just a very hairy boy – my Mum tells me when I was born, I was known as the baby with the hair, so history repeated itself. When he was little I basically just left his curls to grow, as they were lovely. A couple of times we took his hair to a near skin head, but it just wasn’t him! He was quite happy with his hair, until last year, when a child in his class encouraged a group of kids to call him a girl. The poor boy was so upset that I had to hide the scissors in the house because he was going to take them to his head. I got the clippers out and he had a skin head – I didn’t like it, but he was so unhappy, I had to help him. Since then, every time there is the slightest look of a curl returning he has insisted it be cut – the cruelty of people amazes me as the consequence of words can be so far-reaching.
I suppose many parents used the school holidays as the markers to do certain things, and one of them being haircuts. D asked if he could have a proper haircut as he wanted to get track lines in his hair. I think the lines look a bit silly, but he had his heart set on them. I remembered a friend of mine had said that she had taken her boys to a barber in the town, and they were brilliant with them. I therefore booked appointments, not telling M that we would be going until the morning we went. He of course went into total meltdown at the prospect of going. I let him scream at me, and tell me how horrible I was, but I wasn’t going to back down, and he was going to go to get his hair cut.
When we got to the barbers, D was quite hyper. I am not sure if it was suddenly realising that he was coming into contact with a stranger, but he settled as soon as he was in the seat – although the frown on his face the whole time was quite amusing. M tried to escape a couple of times while we waited for his turn. I managed to get him to stay, and when he sat down, the lady said to him that she understood he didn’t like getting his haircut, and she enjoys cutting other peoples hair, but hates having to get hers done – it was just whet he needed to hear, that his feelings were not unique to him, it was genius of her! She only talked to him to tell him what she was doing, there was no chit-chat which would have unnerved him. When she saw he was getting more tense, she made an excuse to leave him for a moment, allowing him to calm down. When she had finished, she said she had left him plenty of movement, but removed a lot of the weight, so if he didn’t want it cut again for a while, it shouldn’t hang too heavily for him. I was so impressed with her attitude and ability to just act and react to M.
I left there with two boys that weren’t just looking smart and handsome, but were happy. D was happy with the patterns on his head – although he told me I would have to buy some hair putty that the lady had used on him! M admitted it hadn’t been as bad as he had expected it to be, and if he got the same lady he would go again. It was amazing!
When someone takes the time to listen to not just the verbal signals, but the body language the difference it can make is beyond belief. I think it is quite sad that I find someones kind behaviour to be such a novelty that I need to comment on it. It is a great relief when you find someone who gets your children, and can accommodate their needs. I just know that the next haircuts will be far less stressful than the thought of these ones!