Getting a haircut can be distressing for some autistic people. Blake hates having it done and over time we have found way's that work for us to make the experience less stressful for us and traumatic for him. Within this post you will find out more on why people on the spectrum may struggle with haircuts and some strategies that have been helpful for us.

 Why does someone who is autistic hate having their haircut?

Well there actually isn't a straightforward answer, there are actually many reasons. It could be something that you didn't consider and may take some detective work to find out.

The environment 

Many people who are autistic struggle with sensory issues.  The environment can be a factor such as bright lighting,  loud sounds such as hairdryers, smells such as strong chemicals and even touch especially if they don't like to be touched or have someone be very close to them. Blake personally hates the sound of hairdryers so having his hair done in the comfort of his own home really helps him. 

It's uncomfortable

 Some autistic people find it actually physically hurts then others find it uncomfortable. The Cutting and vibrations from clippers can be quite a strange feeling to them.

Finding equipment scary

Scissors and clippers can seem scary especially with the buzzing sound clippers make.


If your child doesn't understand what is happening or what to do this can often make them distressed. A lack of understanding can easily cause a child to become upset. This is why it's best for communication to be clear so they are aware what is going on.

Thankfully we are finding ways that can make haircuts autism friendly these tips include:

- Finding a good hairdresser/the right environment 

- Social Stories

- Distraction

- Building up tolerance

- Change of clothes 

- Rewards 

So let's look at these areas in a bit more detail

Finding a good hairdresser/the right environment

Blake's hairdresser is amazing, she is calm and has patience when it comes to Blake which is so important. Once you have found a hairdresser for your child it is best to stick to them as than it's someone familiar each time. The environment is important and we personally chose to go for a mobile hairdresser as it means Blake can have his hair done at home where he is the most comfortable. If noise is an issue noise cancelling headphones or ear defenders may help. 

Social Stories

Social Stories are a very useful tool for exchanging information. You will most likely find an autistic person learns visually hence why Social Stories and using PECS is so valuable. You can find Social Stories online such as on Twinkl or you can make your own so that they are more specific for your child. 


Some hairdressers have TVs which can be helpful as a distraction. We have found the best distraction for Blake is his tablet, however toys and books are also a great option. 

Building up tolerance 

Blake although hates having his hair cut is getting use to it and over time is getting use to having his hair touched. He loves having his hair brushed another idea for building up tolerance is by giving head massages so the autistic person starts to feel more comfortable with getting there head touched.

Change of clothes

Blake isn't keen on the idea of wearing a gown which means hair gets all over his arms and neck. This is a big sensory thing for him and he hates it. So we now also have a change of clothes ready so he can change straight away so it's not so itchy.


Rewards are a great idea and really do work. The first thing to do is work out what motives them? Do they have special interests? 

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