It’s that dreaded time of the month again when Gavin needs a haircut. Sigh.
The last time, I took him to Supercuts just before Christmas so he would look adorable for pictures. Before we could even get inside Gavin started screaming. He remembered this place immediately and the rest of the trip became my strength over Gavin’s. I sat with him in the chair and held him down the entire time. I swore to myself I would not go back to this location so that he would not get worked up a head of time and that I would not go by myself again.
Fast forward to today. I found a new place for us to try called Snip-its and they specialize in children’s haircuts. I actually did a search on them and they are highly recommend for kids with Autism. The woman cutting his hair insisted on using the trimmer on him because it would be faster and more accurate. I panicked because we have only ever done a scissor cut before, but Doug had a good idea to hold them up to him to see how he did with the sound. When she turned them on he definitely squirmed, but it wasn’t anymore than he had in the past. She made a comment, “Oh he’s a sensitive one isn’t he?”, to which I quickly jumped in with, “Yes, he has Autism”. I have to give her credit though, her demeanor immediately changed. She became very understanding and very patient with Gavin. She threw out multiple suggestions on things we could do to distract him, but unfortunately none of them worked. By the end of the haircut, Doug was sitting in the chair with him holding him down, and I was standing behind the chair holding both of his hands….no wonder this is a traumatic experience for him! After 45 mins. we were finally done….that’s right 45 minutes!!!
I felt awful for Gavin for so many reasons and I wanted to cry myself because I hate restraining him. The worst part of the experience should have been what we put him through, but unfortunately it wasn’t his crying, or us fighting with him to calm down, it was the horrible stares that we were receiving from the other parents. We specifically chose this place to try because we figured we were amongst other parents. Maybe not special need parents, but there is an expectation between parents that you get it and shouldn’t be judging others.
I felt like we were on display and it really sucked, to put it bluntly. I initially noticed a 7 or 8 year old girl looking at us and I thought, sure she doesn’t understand. However, I then saw her father two chairs over staring at us. I wanted to go up to him and say at least I’m trying to help my child you are just reenforcing bad manners with yours. Doug knows me and my worries so well and tried to make me smile at the end and said, “Don’t worry, I don’t think anyone noticed.” I laughed, and tried to let it go. I responded to him with a sarcastic comment of, “oh no, everyone was staring!”. Our hairstylist politely commented to me, “oh sweetie they were just reminiscing about when it was their child”. Ok, lady whatever you need to tell yourself.
The least amount of judging we can do the better off we are. – Michael J. Fox