Most kids with Autism HATE having their hair cut, and my son is no different. For the last few years, cutting my son’s hair would mean I would have to hold my son on my lap by wrapping him in a sheet so he couldn’t move (which is REALLY difficult…he’s 7.5 years old and more than 80lbs!), while my man uses the hair clippers set on buzz-mode, and trying to help me keep my son still. Not an easy thing…and usually myself or my son would end up bleeding because of how much he was moving, trying to escape.
When my kids was 5 years old, they both caught lice at daycare. My daughter’s thin and strawberry blond hair was easy to get the dark lice out. Plus, she would sit still. I almost cried at the thought of going through my son’s hair. There was no way he would sit still for me to meticulously go through his hair to get rid of the lice. He had longish gorgeous thick dirty-blond hair, and it had to go. My man didn’t understand why we had to wait for my neighbour to get home from work so we could cut his hair. Why wouldn’t a man who’s 6’2″ be able to manage this, with me clipping his hair? He didn’t understand…until he sat on the floor with my son on his lap, holding him and my little 5 year old spun the two of them in circles on the floor. My man couldn’t stop him. So we waited an hour or so for my neighbour to come home and help. Took two hours and three grown ups to buzz off my son’s hair. We were all exhausted, I was bleeding a bit, but we did it.
Fast forward about 2 years and about bunch of home-haircuts. We were able to get it down to just my man and I. We also had one great cut where I barely had to hold him on my lap, and he fussed but no one was bleeding or exhausted at the end. Then the next one happened and he was screaming, crying and back to what we believed as being his “normal” for a haircut. We went through it and did it. Then about a week later, my man asked me to “clean up” the bottom of his haircut so, out came the clippers. I was scared because my only experience with cutting hair was with my son. I barely touched him with the clippers, and he was flinching. I told him I had barely touched him, he looked at the clippers, and realized it was off-kilter. Ah-ha! THAT’s why my son had freaked out the week prior.
Fast forward another 6 months or so, and it’s time to cut his hair again. In fact, we had been putting off doing it for so long that his hair was getting some of the curl back! I told the therapists at IBI how scared I was, and they told me that they can create a desensitizing program for him. He responded really well to the program but I was still scared.
Today and yesterday, my son’s been home sick. This afternoon, he’s getting back to his normal, making all of his crazy noises, moving around a bit, and has some colour again in his cheeks. He asked for his “footnails” (which is code for wanting me to cut his toe nails…how cute is that??). I went over to him, asked which one needed to be cut, and he pushed the nail clippers towards the back of his head. I laughed and pretended to cut his hair with the nail clippers. He didn’t move. He even took his hat off (which doesn’t happen for anything except for bathtime!). So, I grabbed the scissors from the kitchen and pretended to cut the back of his hair, being very careful in case he whipped his head around. He didn’t move. I asked if I could cut his hair near his ears (his sideburns) with the scissors and he said “Yes”. So I did. Then I pulled hair between my fingers the way I’ve seen hairdressers do, and started doing sections around his head. He let me do it! Every few minutes, he would put his hat back on, and I would ask him if I can cut more, he would take his hat off, and let me continue. I did his whole head!! Still some bits I can see to cut off now that he’s moved around this afternoon, but I now we can do it.
I’m sssoooooo proud of him (and it looks really good, if I may say so…my first time cutting hair)!!!!