Friday, February 01, 2013

An Autism parent 2

The other day I wrote this post. I got quite a good response. Some from parents of Autistic children, that recognised my morning ritual. Some from parents that haven't experienced it, but liked having the insight.

So today I decided to write another, this time about the sensory issues.

Little AJ has issues with people touching his head, he doesn't like it. A gentle touch may be tolerated, but hair brushing etc. is a huge no no.

If we're in a loud or busy place AJ will cover his ears, because it genuinely hurts his ears. I can fix this with headphones and something to distract him on a phone/tablet.

If something is too stimulating to his eyes, again a phone/tablet helps to keep him focused elsewhere.

Now tell me how I fix the problem of hair cutting??

We took him to several 'specialist' hair dressers, who nearly always, politely, asked us not to go back. Understandably it was just too heartbreaking for them to do it more than once. I know that some people pin their children down and shave it quick, but I only did that once and it made me cry. It felt like abuse.

This is when I started looking into the sensory issues and seeking advice from my local Autistic Society.
Which is when I realised I could actually be causing him physical pain.

So we had to come up with a plan, the plan was........midnight haircut.

If we try to cut his hair as he goes to sleep he still reacts. So we have to let him fall asleep in our arms, whilst gently stroking his hair. As he falls into a deeper sleep, we start running our fingers very gently through his hair. Once this becomes tolerated, we start snipping.

Its usually my hubby that runs his fingers through and me that chops all the hair above his fingers off! The hardest part is over the ears, but with practise its getting easier.
This is what he looks like after last nights midnight haircut! Excuse the mucky face, but taking a picture and cleaning his face will not be tolerated!! (I wish I was joking)

It actually getting easier to do, although last night he got a bit unsettled toward the end and took a little while to get back to sleep properly. I don't mind really as the only way he would settle was cuddled up with me in my bed.....yeah, that was a challenge?!

So how would you do it? All suggestions are welcome, he is getting quite big now. Although I am getting quite good at these.


  1. Hi my little boy is autistic and ADHD and has many similar traits to aj and haircuts have always been very difficult even kissing Charlie's head seems to cause him pain :( we found a fantastic male barber who cuts very very quickly and take the iPhone and if he manages it we give him a little treat afterwards its took almost 4 years but its now tolerable to him x

    1. I wish I could find someone that little one could tolerate, it would be heaven! I will find someone one day I'm sure, but for now the midnight cut will have to do x

  2. Needs must ! And you seem to be doing a pretty good job of cutting it yourself !! X

    1. ah thank you, I seem to be getting better at it! lol x


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