Autism and Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD) are not the same thing, but they are often linked to one another. On top of learning about everything that goes along with Autism we are also figuring out how to help Gavin, who in addition to Autism, also suffers from SPD. In a nutshell, SPD is a neurological disorder that causes difficulties with processing information from the five senses.
This weekend we took Gavin for a haircut and it was heartbreaking to see his reaction to being in that setting. While sitting in the waiting area he continuously covered his ears whenever the clippers or the hair dryer would turn on for other customers. Normal sounds to the rest of us that we can tune out are like nails on a chalk board to him.
When it was finally our turn I sat in the chair with him to hold him during the haircut. He wiggled and moved the entire time and freaked out as the hair fell on his face. I sat there praying that it would be over soon and that they did not cut him at all during this experience with all of his movements or we would never get him in the seat again. The 7-10 minute haircut literally felt like an eternity.
Kendall has always been leery of haircuts too, but with girls it is much easier. There is never the thought of clippers and growing her hair out isn’tweird. But for Gavin he keeps a pretty styled spiky look that needs to be trimmed every 4-6 weeks. I feel awful constantly putting him in this situation and wish with all of the 1 in 88 kids that is being diagnosed with Autism that there were places that would offer special services for kids on the spectrum. There has to be something out there that can help to put them at ease…and I promise you it is not just a lollipop.