The Unspeakable Word

If you are a parent like me with a child on the spectrum, chances are we both have something very unique in common.

Something that most would think is a very simple thing to do, something that is just a part of life. But for us, it’s not.

Do I dare say this forbidden word? I don’t know if I can handle to even whisper it…but here it is:

“HAIRCUT”.

Yes, there, I said it.

This word in the Autism world for most is a very, very bad word and almost sounds like an insult or cuss word when we hear it leave someone’s lips.

How many amens am I getting right now?

When Eli was little, this very word was like world war III just broke out. Like an Apocalyptic rage started and zombies would soon be roaming the earth in chaos and destruction.

Okay, maybe not that bad, but it would feel pretty darn close.

I tried everything under the sun to make his haircuts into a positive thing.

We went to salons, they were to busy and he wouldn’t let anyone touch him.

Hearing the clippers turn on would make him jump out of his seat and run for the door.

Even after watching his brother Carter go a million times, it always ended up with us in the car waiting for Carter to get finished.

At home, I used and tried everything.. watching videos, playing videos, snacks, rewards, covering the face, I even bought silent trimmers which weren’t completely silent, but were much more silent than your regular ones.

The feeling of it running over his hair, the vibration, the sound… He would go into sheer torture every single time.

There were only two options: Shave Eli’s whole head quickly in one swoop, or use a combo of mostly scissors (This would painfully take hours with breaks because he couldn’t hold still) and then shave at the end…but scissors were even an issue.

I tried massaging his head beforehand, bribery, anything I could think of. But he was always so miserable and it always left him with sensory overload and in tears.

I hated him feeling that way. It just wasn’t fair. So we would hold out as long as we could, schedule a day just perfect where he didn’t have to go anywhere or do anything too crazy the following day.

Eli did progress in getting his hair cut, but not ever enough and we still were both miserable.

Around the time the movie Aquaman came out Scott and all the boys decided they were going to start growing their hair out because it would be cool…What?!

I’ve thought about doing this with Eli in the past, but it just never really sunk in and I didn’t know how he or I would manage long hair… It is a lot more to take care of. I knew if it didn’t work out, we could just cut it. But, that would regress any and all progress we have ever gotten.

Could this be the answer to such pain and agony?

We were going to find out.

Fast forward about one and a half years later…

So far it’s the best decision we have ever made. Eli is so much happier, and he LOVES his long hair. He does require help in washing it, but he did before as well… something we will continue to work on.

We have to work on brushing and his sensitivity to small tangles, but still so worth it.

When we go places, we hear people reference Eli as her, or “how are you two ladies doing?” I just laugh, because Eli doesn’t notice and he does have a pretty face and lashes to die for.

Eli and I will start working on trips to the salon again this summer, if for nothing but to get his hair washed so he is still working on something and then get to where he is okay with having it trimmed.

I am fine with trimming his hair myself, but I need to prepare Eli to be self-sufficient without me as well.

For now, we are enjoying the freedom from it all.

And, for anyone who thinks boys and men should have short hair I have only two words for you…Jason Momoa.

I look forward to this summer and hopefully helping my son to see the salon as a fun and relaxing experience rather than the worst nightmare.

Written by, Amy Green

Amy Green is a Blessed Wife and Mom to Eli and Carter. You can follow her on her website, Autism Lion, and on Facebook.

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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 our journey. You can also follow us on Facebook, subscribe for exclusive videos, and subscribe to our newsletter.

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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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