Jake always gets a crew cut. This has little to do with style, and lots to do with necessity. His autism doesn’t let him comfortably sit still and allow others to cut his hair with scissors. It’s never gone well. Crew cut haircuts aren’t much easier (electric clippers are kind of nightmarish as well), but they’re much quicker. He needs to take his headphones off, which doubles their impact, as his headphones are his safety blanket against the world. We’ve found moderate success letting him look in the mirror at himself as he gets his hair cut. We’ve had fair success letting him watch TV or videos while he gets his hair cut. We get our best luck out of having him get a hair cut “just like Dad.” Rarely does one of us get trimmed that the other doesn’t get trimmed right afterwards. We have, of course, let him hold and play with the clippers before we cut his hair. We’re cutting it down to essentially nothing, so what harm can it do? He’s never really done this for more than 10 seconds.
Anyway, fast forward to today. I was in need of a hair cut. My locks were approaching 1/2″. I felt like some kind of hippie. I went up to the bathroom after work to get a quick trim, and Jake followed. We offered him the chance to have a “whack” at Dad first, and he really took off! I had Beth run and grab her iPad for a quick pic. She got a shot and put the iPad down; but Jake just kept going. I had her grab some video – find it here on youtube:
Notice the repeated phrase, “hold still, Buddy.” Jake is what we call “verbal-ish.” He’s not all the way to fully verbal, but he can make his needs known. He takes phrases from other people, movies, cartoons, etc., and uses them to create his own echolalia-esque speech. We obviously use this phrase when we cut his hair … A LOT! It’s funny how much he uses it. I don’t think I’m moving, but it gives you an idea as to how often he hears this when getting his own hair cut. We’ve also found it’s best if we let him hold his own ear out of the way – gives him a better sense of control. The only phrase we didn’t hear was “look at your belly button.” This classic gem is how we can handle his neck. He has obviously picked up the script for haircutting. I only wish we’d have taken an “after” photo. When he was finished with me, I looked like I’d been attacked by a lawnmower.