Wednesday, January 23, 2008


When our youngest child was still quite tiny, he used to hate haircuts, so much so that my husband developed the amazing ability to cut hair extremely fast, on a moving target that was also screaming and complaining.

Since then, our youngest has matured mightily and is able to sit still for his haircuts without even squirming. But I guess he's still not overly enamored of the process.

Addendum to inexperienced parents who might be tempted to indulge in self-righteous criticism or tsk-tssking: Once you've raised a child with sensory issues, then we'll talk.


  1. I wish I had the speed cutting ability. Neither of my boys like haircuts and I've been putting it off.

  2. The speed cutting ability came in really handy when one of my nephews was 3 years old. He has cerebral palsy and has also exhibited a lot of autistic symptoms. This poor guy was extremely sensory defensive. Haircuts were such an ordeal that his parents had given up. But when everyone thought that his long beautiful curls belonged on a little girl, they decided it was time for a very boyish haircut.

    Enter the amazing speed-barber. My sister-in-law held her son as still as possible on a kitchen stool while my husband, seemingly undaunted by the high drama that ensued, quickly and quietly cut his hair. Amazingly enough, it even looked good!

    We've decided that, if my husband ever wants another career, he should do in-home barbering for children with sensory issues.

  3. Rebecca, I have a seriously disabled daughter with extreme sensory issues, so I understand. One observation. I see that your son doesn't have anything covering his torso so that the hair falls on his skin. Is this much of what bothers him? Or is it the hair on the face and neck? I usually just cut my daughter's hair with her shirt on and then simply change shirts. Less squirm for her. Just a thought, anyway.

    From all my experience, though, it has more to do with exposure -- the more often you do something, the more they get used to it -- than much of anything else. Do you find that to be true?

  4. Good points, Jen. In our son's case, he has opted for no shirt during haircuts. He can't stand the way it feels to get hair inside his shirt but he also doesn't like the feeling of something close enough around his neck to prevent hair from getting under the shirt. I think what still gets to him is the hair in his face and also the feeling of his hair being "pulled" while it's being cut. I used to think he was just a high drama type kid, which he is, but I've since realized that he experiences a lot of things at a very intense level.

    Exposure does help. I'm not sure if it helps to make the sensory input not as severe, or if it helps children to learn how to deal with what my son sometimes calls "torture".

  5. Well, it is a really cute picture!

    I can't "pull" my daughter's hair either. I don't even like that when the hair dresser does that to me! I tend to be easy on her for things that don't really have to be -- like pulling hair. I have worked VERY hard to help her overcome certain sensory issues like the sound of cell phones and plastic bags, for instance.

    You are just blessed to have a patient husband!

  6. Such a handsome boy! And he is being quite brave. It is so hard when you experience 'normal' activities in such a intense, out of range way.

    This brought back memories. DD age four loves her hair cuts now (we make a big 'salon' day out of it) but she really hated them when she was younger. I used to nurse her into a deep sleep, then my husband would cuddle her against his chest and I would cut her hair.

    Sometimes she would only have one side cut for a day or two...