Haircut Tips for Autistic Children

I can think of a lot of struggles that Cooper and I have had over the years. He is autistic and nonverbal. That alone is hard. But to this day, one of his biggest struggles was and is getting a haircut. When Cooper was two we visited a local Cost Cutters for his first trim. We put it off forever because we knew it was going to be awful. Cooper hated to sit and be touched by strangers. So, we went very early in the morning and hoped for the best. The experience was awful. So awful in fact that a patron of the store alerted a manager of a child screaming. After the stylist started crying I said never again.

That was his first and last hair cut at a public place. We let his hair grow long and tried to recover from the trauma of the hair cut. I still laugh at all of the people that gave us a hard time about letting our boy have long hair. I always wonder why people care so much.

When he was three it was time for another hair cut. I started watching videos on YouTube on how to cut kid’s hair with a clippers. I thought, I could do that! I purchased this Clipper from Walmart. It was cheap and easy to use.

I have been cutting Cooper’s hair for close to four years now. I can cut his hair from start to finish in just under five minutes. I buzz as much as I can with the 1/2 inch attachment (the orange one) and then finish with a scissors. I’ve learned over the years that it’s not the sound or vibration that bothers him…it’s more the hair on his neck and having to sit still. I offer a cape or towel for his neck before every cut but he refuses to wear one. So, we power through as fast as we can.

Sometimes, like in this video, he sits on my lap for the beginning.

As Cooper is getting older and I’m getting more experienced, the cuts get better each time. We start preparing him about a week in advance about the cut. The day of we talk about it more frequently. Eventually, he will grab the clippers himself and bring them to me. I think he gets tired of me talking about it!

I’ve also learned that Cooper is going to move around. He is going to yell and kick. He is going to laugh. The situation is going to be stressful and I’m going to sweat. But, then it’s over. And he’s so proud of himself.

After every single haircut he claps and points to his hair. He knows how cute he is. It’s pretty great.

Also, I always make sure he has his Kindle to watch. Without it I’d never even get him in the chair.

So, here it is! The long awaited hair cut video. Enjoy!


Finding Cooper’s Voice is a safe, humorous, caring and honest place where you can celebrate the unique challenges of parenting a special needs child. Because you’re never alone in the struggles you face. And once you find your people, your allies, your village….all the challenges and struggles will seem just a little bit easier. Welcome to our journey. You can also follow us on Facebook and subscribe to our newsletter.

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Comments

  • Betty

    December 3, 2017 at 8:29 am
    Reply

    You are an amazing mother!

  • Robin Jane

    April 9, 2018 at 8:00 pm
    Reply

    Hi Kate! Ya....he still doesn't look like he's having a good time. I sent you an email a few weeks ago...possibly got lost in […] Read MoreHi Kate! Ya....he still doesn't look like he's having a good time. I sent you an email a few weeks ago...possibly got lost in the million emails you receive ;-) I passed on some sage advice which I hope you both really love. When he's 15 you won't be having him sit on your lap to do this job. Sorry for the subject line: I was trying to think of something to catch your attention.** Haircutting....Unsolicited Improvements, Advice from one who's walked here before you...;-) ** With Love&Respect; Robin Read Less

  • Robert Chase

    October 29, 2018 at 12:38 am
    Reply

    Here are an amazing blog post and excellent tutorial on hair cutting. A video gives me an extra bonus point. please keep it up.

  • Amy

    December 21, 2018 at 3:35 pm
    Reply

    Love this post! We found the key to haircuts for our wonder kid. He loves, loves, loves my parent's large touch screen computer. Can spend […] Read MoreLove this post! We found the key to haircuts for our wonder kid. He loves, loves, loves my parent's large touch screen computer. Can spend hours lost on kids youtube. Well guess what? Want Computer? "Computer Please", then "Haircut!" and each day a little more and more until now he brings us the clippers and asks for the computer. We are now working with the little light the Dr. shines in your ears to get him used to that. Read Less

  • Susan Berkelbach

    January 7, 2019 at 1:36 pm
    Reply

    This may sounds crazy to parents of Neurotypical kids, but this makes me so happy. My little guy is 2 and he hates haircuts, and […] Read MoreThis may sounds crazy to parents of Neurotypical kids, but this makes me so happy. My little guy is 2 and he hates haircuts, and what I have come to realize is that we just need to power through it. It feels awful a lot of the time, but it's just how we need to get it done. Thanks for making me feel a little more 'normal' and known. Read Less

  • Patricia Evans

    February 5, 2019 at 12:17 pm
    Reply

    Hi, Thanks for your awesome article. I have a pro tip for you. You can add this tip and that is to avoid any miscommunications […] Read MoreHi, Thanks for your awesome article. I have a pro tip for you. You can add this tip and that is to avoid any miscommunications and bad haircuts become much easier if you bring inspiration and pictures of top-notch hairstyles with you. Showing your hair stylist a picture of the haircut you want will provide your hairstylist with an idea of what you’re looking for – both in terms of cut and even color. Your stylist will also be able to tell you if that particular cut and style works for you – so be prepared to get feedback and maybe only partially the haircut you want. Read Less

  • Christy Simpson

    March 29, 2019 at 9:53 am
    Reply

    I have a four year old with Autism as well. His name is Gage and he despises hair cuts. I too after many visits […] Read MoreI have a four year old with Autism as well. His name is Gage and he despises hair cuts. I too after many visits to local salons bought clippers to cut his at home because I was so humiliated because of the screaming and kicking. He still doesn't like getting it cut I hold him while his Dad cuts last week we only got a quarter of the way finished. Dad said he couldn't do this to him anymore. I don't know what to do now. Read Less

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Finding Cooper's Voice is a safe, humorous, caring and honest place where you can celebrate the unique challenges of parenting a special needs child. Because you're never alone in the struggles you face. And once you find your people, your allies, your village....all the challenges and struggles will seem just a little bit easier. Welcome to my page!

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