What does ‘reward’ mean to you?
In the autism world, there are many challenges that are faced every single day. Yet some of those challenges can be very rewarding, for both child and parent. I can think of many challenges we’ve both faced, that in the end, we were equally rewarded – her reward was achieving something out of the ordinary, achieving a goal, breaking out of a habit. For me it was seeing her do something and knowing that she knew she did it without having a complete meltdown, or after the meltdown was over, she saw that what she did, was actually okay.
The first rewarding moment that I can remember, was the first time she sat in a barber chair without assistance or without me holding her down while she got her hair cut. Yes, you read that right. For most children with autism, getting a haircut is a HUGE challenge. I had to sit in the chair with her in my lap, hold her legs and arms as still as possible, all the while listening to her scream and cry as the stylist cut her hair. It’s just a part of that sensory/autism area…someone different combing my hair, that isn’t my hairbrush, etc. The stylist having to spray their hair with water isn’t a big hit either. Plus, the scissors aren’t a favorite thing – something sharp and pointed, coming towards me…
I take her to a place where the hair stylist is familiar with children with special needs; she has a special needs child of her own. Not only that, but the place is very welcoming to all children, especially those with special needs. They can play with all kinds of neat and cool toys. Plus, the stylist doesn’t even have to cut their hair while they’re sitting in a chair. I walked in one day and saw her sweeping up hair from around the train table – the child was preoccupied with the train set, that that was all they were going to do. My daughter was the same way, I couldn’t get her away from the train set, or coax her to sit in the chair to get her hair cut, so the stylist proceeded to cut her hair from where my daughter played. No problems, whatsoever!
Maybe there’s a fear of sitting in a barber chair, who knows!
The last time I took my daughter to get her hair cut, she sat in the chair without a fuss. Cartoons was playing on the TV The stylist was able to find a cartoon my daughter liked on the TV, which kept her preoccupied long enough for the stylist to go to work. It was only when the cartoon ended did she realize what was going on and started to squirm, though the stylist quickly finished, yet did an amazing job. The stylist then rewarded my daughter with a toy of her choosing, for her being so brave and not making a fuss.
This little barber shop also has an awesome store where I can buy sensory toys for my daughter. I even purchased a few puzzles and a few dry erase alphabet mats for my daughter to learn tracing her ABC’s on.
My daughter now calls the barber shop, the train place, because of the train set kids can play with while waiting to get their hair cut. There’s also a dollhouse and a few sensory toys around the store where kids can freely play.
Thats awesome! I know some parents of children with autism ( hopefully i didn’t jump into that what to call them debate just now) and have heard horror stories of meltdowns at the salon. what a win this is!
I can tell you from experience, yes, some of the meltdowns I’ve had to endure have been very trying as a parent.
It’s so good you write about it. Raises awareness.
Thank you! I’ve stumbled upon other blogs like mine in my research for autism. I thought, ‘what better way to share my experience with other autism parents, than to post them here on my blog’.
I think every day is a reward for you and your daughter.
Keep on rewarding yourselves.
Thank you, and yes, it is! 🙂
Reblogged this on Living Life Day by Day … and commented:
I have a friend who has taught me quite a bit about autism through sharing her experiences with her son. It’s not an easy journey by any means, and as shared in this post, it’s interesting to learn about things we take for granted which are viewed quite differently by autistic children.
Getting a hair cut for example can turn out be a really big deal and the writer shares: ” For most children with autism, getting a haircut is a HUGE challenge. I had to sit in the chair with her in my lap, hold her legs and arms as still as possible, all the while listening to her scream and cry as the stylist cut her hair. It’s just a part of that sensory/autism area…someone different combing my hair, that isn’t my hairbrush, etc. The stylist having to spray their hair with water isn’t a big hit either. Plus, the scissors aren’t a favorite thing – something sharp and pointed, coming towards me…”
Honestly never considered the situation from that perspective but what’s really commendable is the conscious effort being taken by others to make life that much easier for children with special needs. And in the meantime, we are grateful to all who invite us to share this walk with them; thank you 🙂
Thank you for sharing! 🙂
You are very very welcome!
Hi I am a mother to an autistic 3 year old boy and I face the exact same problems getting him to sit still as you do. He screams and squirms the whole time and by the time the barber is finished he is just about hysterical. But with him being a boy I think it is probably even more of a challenge because his hair is cut short and then lined up with clippers, which he seems to really hate the noise of. But i can definitely relate to your struggles and sympathize with you. I was just wondering where you have your daughter’s hair cut at? I live in Kentucky so I was hoping maybe it was close? Thanks!