Haircuts with an Autistic boy

I took the kids to Fred Meyer on Friday as it was Sarah’s birthday and our zoo plans got rained out.  She and Rachel had gift cards and birthday money that was burning a hole in their pocket that they had been eager to spend.  It was a neat experience as I honestly didn’t mind the 4 hours we spend there.  We had lunch at the Deli.  I was able to order Joshua some roasted chicken thigh and had brought some frozen peas for him to eat.  The kids were thrilled with their selections, too, even if they had run out of macaroni and cheese.  It was a great experience as it was applied math the entire time as they were learning how to stay within a budget and be both wise and selective in their purchases.

While we were there, I decided to go ahead and buy a clipper set so I could cut the boys’ hair.  Considering how much we have to spend to get them hair cuts, it would be well worth the investment.  Not to mention, Michael loves to have his hair cut, the shorter the better.  He always comments on “how handsome” he looks.  I hadn’t had Joshua get his hair cut with the clippers as he has been reactive to it in the past.  However, I was fortunate to find a kit by Remington that had low noise.  With that, I was determined to give it a go.  Especially in that clipping his hair would, hopefully, be easier than cutting it with scissors, which is what I, or my friend Janet, have done in the past, with mixed success.

After a birthday dinner of pizza, I set the boys up at the computer in the kitchen, watching Thomas the Train on Netflix Instant Watch.  I started with Michael and basically practiced with the different clipper combs.  I cut his hair pretty short.  It’s a good thing he likes it, as he most likely won’t need another hair cut until August!  What was cute was he asked if he could have another hair cut the next day.  He wanted it short like Caillou, a cartoon of a bald headed kid.  I told him, “no” as it was certainly short enough and I would not go any shorter.

I then set Joshua in his boster chair, and strapped him in.  He was completely engrossed in watching Thomas the Train and I was feeling all the more confident.  I showed him the clippers and turned it on so he could see it and understand that the humming noise was coming from that.  I then covered him in the cape and set to work.  He did remarkably well.  I was quite surprised.  I used longer settings than Michael’s but the longest I had was one inch for the top and I used a 3/4 inch for the bottom.  He let me finish off the nape of his neck and I then attempted to trim around his ears using the tapers.  Big mistake.  It not only looked choppy (I hadn’t had to use it on Michael’s as his was shorter and I could just trim the sides.), but I ended up knicking Joshua’s ear, causing it to bleed.  The odd thing is he was so engrossed in his Thomas show, he didn’t even whimper, to my recollection.  I felt terrible and held a clean cloth to his ear to stop the bleeding.  He still didn’t seem to mind.  Amazing.  For a kid with Sensory Processing Disorder, I had expected some type of reaction.  He was so passive, for the most part.  H0wever, he did start to get tired and wouldn’t hold his head in the way I wanted, but I really had nothing to complain about.  For the most part, his hair turned out pretty well.  I will get better with time, and this experience will hopefully, be a building block for future success, not only with hair cuts, but with other challenging things he may have to do, like, see the dentist…  In the meantime, as the saying goes:  “the difference between a good haircut and a bad haircut is, two weeks”.

Aren't they handsome?

Joshua's favorite place to sleep: the floor. (Notice the hack job around the ears.)

This entry was posted on Monday, May 31st, 2010 at 7:46 am and is filed under General Autism Info, Sensory Integration Disorder. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

6 Responses to “Haircuts with an Autistic boy”

  1. Mom Says:

    They look darling but I must say I think I like Josh with a longer cut. I know Michael likes it short and it suits him but he has lovely red hair. Hope he will like the color as he grows up. It is such a wonderful color.

    They both look cute and I like Josh’s pillow!

  2. admin Says:

    Thanks, Mom! I tend to like Josh with a longer cut, too, but I don’t have the equipment to cut it with the clippers at a longer length. It’s more challenging with the scissors. It will get longer, however…2 weeks! Michael does love his hair and certainly has a lot of self love as he frequently says how handsome he is. Joshua will no doubt learn to read by osmosis. That was the pose his Aunt Anne had when studying in college.

  3. Lori Britton Says:

    Sheila, you are a terrific mom! Well done! I think the new hair cuts look just adorable…. I always enjoy reading your blogs!! :o)

  4. admin Says:

    Thanks, Lori! I appreciate the feedback and you following our journey! God bless!

  5. Valerie Jacobs Says:


    Thanks for inviting me. I think you may be the first I’ve joined. I don’t seem to have a lot of time to spend on Facebook, but your writings are very enjoyable. Plus, I love pictures.

    Love and blessings, Valerie

  6. admin Says:

    Thanks, Valerie! It’s a labor of love. Joshua is such a personable little lad with such a winning smile. We really appreciate all those who journey with us on this road of autism. God bless!


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