It's no secret that I'm a fan of Autism Speaks Family Services' efforts. The first thing you'll find when you visit my blog is a link to their 100 Day Kit, which is an amazing resource for families who have just received that mind-boggling autism diagnosis. They also award community grants to service providers that serve to build the field of services for individuals with autism and expand the capacity to effectively support our community. And then of course they have their School Toolkits and the new Autism in the Workplace initiative as well as the Advancing Futures for Adults with Autism ..... The list of resources goes on and on. If you haven't checked it out recently, seriously, you should.
But their newest initiative is one that is especially near and dear to my heart. So many of our kids with autism have such a tough time going to get their hair cut. Parents and hairstylists bear the battlescars of nightmarish visits to the local salon, which explains why so many of our kids walk around with shaggy (although I think endearingly cute) heads. Personally speaking, I put off haircuts until I can no longer see Jack's beautiful baby blues (or my in-laws are scheduled to visit) and then grit my teeth and take him. It is not, shall we say, a pleasant experience.
The good folks at Autism Speaks (many of them parents of kids with autism themselves) have teamed up with Melmark New England and Snip-its (a haircuttery chain for kids that I'm sure many of you are familiar with) to produce a how-to video and haircutting training guide for our families. The guide even contains a social story that you can share with your child before going to the salon.
(Pssstt... Take a peek at the video. You might just notice a familiar little boy on your screen.)
For additional information about how to make the haircutting experience a more positive one for children with autism, visit Autism Speaks.
Here's to more good hair days and more peace of mind for all of us. Now go forth and snip!