Preparing for a Haircut

Haircutting Training Guide

August 30, 2018

Haircuts can be challenging for children with autism. Here are some things to think about before your child’s haircut:

  • Speak with the salon manager about just coming in so that your child can be acquainted with the environment.
  • Schedule an appointment during a time when the salon is not as crowded so there are less distractions for the child with autism.
  • Speak with the stylist before hand about any particular sensitivities that your child may have.
  • Identify reinforcers or preferred items that your child likes. For some children it’s a favorite toy or book, for others it’s a treat.  Your child can earn the item as a result of successfully completing the steps requested of the child.  For some children this may mean all the steps necessary for getting a haircut, for others it may mean to complete a predetermined number of steps.  As these steps are mastered more steps can be added until the haircut is successfully completed.  It is important that the child is successful and has earned the reward at the end of the sessions.  This way the experience may be remembered as positive.
  • Take a digital picture of the reinforcer or preferred item to remind the child what he is earning.
  • Review the steps of getting a haircut with your child (see the visual schedule on page 5 of this pamphlet).
  • Practice the steps of getting a haircut with your child at home before bring your child in for a haircut.

Read more from the Haircutting Training Guide.

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