Autism and haircuts

Had a great success this week by using the reward card system when my autistic son was having his hair cut. Ever since he has been having his hair cut over a year ago the experience has been getting worse and worse.  The result being my son crying and screaming whilst I have to resort to keeping him in a lock for his own safety.

Various strategies have been suggested such as  getting him to practise with scissors, watching us get our haircut, cutting his hair cut in  his sleep and building up to a full haircut by getting bits cut each return visit. The problem was Jake went into a meltdown as soon as scissors got near him.

However, my wife has recently been on a two day course for PECS which my son uses to communicate. They introduced the concept of a reward card so the child has to earn a treat they want. Each time they achieve something they get a button towards their target number. This works like a charm. My sons favourite is DVD’s so it went like this:

1. Ask Jake to choose a DVD to get him happy and excited
2. Explain to him that after five cuts he gets to watch an episode of the DVD.
3. Count each cut and make a big fuss of how well he is doing.
4. Let him watch the episode in peace.
5. Repeat until haircut finished.

He didn’t like it but tollerated it bless him.



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Middle aged, slightly below average height, slightly above a healthy weight, a bit of a numpty but father to a wonderful little autistic lad called Jake.

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