Organization helps special needs children get haircuts


LEWISBURG, UNION COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) — For many, getting a haircut is a piece of cake. Sit in a barber chair and let the barber get to work. But for others, it can be a difficult process.

“Kicking, screaming, crying, thrashing, so it usually takes three of us to hold him down and get it cut, so it’s just traumatizing to everyone,” Celina Mull of Lewisburg said.

Which is why Autism and Behavior Resources held ‘Special Needs Haircut Day’ at Miller Center for Recreation and Wellness, where special needs kids were able to come in and get a cut in a sensory free environment.

“There’s nothing that they can knock over. There’s no smells going on. There’s no extra sounds. It’s easy to get in. It’s easy to get out. They don’t have to worry about safety concerns,” Erin Demcher, a Behavior Analyst at Autism and Behavior Resources said.

“In a typical hair salon, Logan might come in and he’ll sit in the chair he’s supposed to and he’ll shrink himself. He’ll comment a lot about the smells, the chemicals,” Lauri Ruiz-Green of Danville said.

Logan is seven-years-old and has autism. He said getting his haircut this time was a breeze.

“I was staying still,” Ruiz-Green said.

“You just got to cut fast, quick and fast. Just don’t necessarily worry about cutting clean, just get bulk away. There’s really no secret to it, that’s it,” Russell Greene of Against the Grain Barbershop said.

Each family filled out a survey before they came in, telling what their kids like and don’t like, to help the trim go smoothly.

“So we have cars for some kids,” Demcher said. “One kid likes M&M’s, one kid likes Pokemon, so I have that all ready to go for each barber.”

Celina Mulls’ three-year-old son Parker has autism. She says being able to bring him here for a cut is a much more positive experience for him.

“Previously, it’s been a struggle to get his hair cut. We try to do it at home, but it’s a big fight,” Mull explains. “He did really good, especially compared to normal. This is a really big step in the right direction for us.”

Although some tears were shed, in the end, parents say it was all worthwhile.

“It can actually make a very uncomfortable process manageable,” Ruiz-Green said.

Autism & Behavior Resources is hoping to make this a bi-monthly event.

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