A hair salon near Ashby is planning to open specially to offer treatments and haircuts to children with special needs.
Tip Top Hair Design, in Staunton Harold, is preparing to hold a special day for children with autism and other special needs.
Owner Jacqui Williams’ daughter, 13-year-old Elizabeth, suffers with autism, while manageress Ruth Geary’s six-year-old daughter, Isobel, is also on the autistic spectrum.
The Jigsaw Day will be held on Monday August 7; children who have any special needs will be welcome to visit and have their hair done and every allowance will be made to make them feel more comfortable.
Jacqui said: “We are opening the salon on a day when we are usually shut to allow children who might be frightened of the hairdressers to come along and feel comfortable.”
The team got the idea from Welsh hairdresser James Williams, or ‘Jim the Trim’, who runs a salon called Autism Barbers Assemble. He specialises in providing hair cuts for children with special needs, doing everything possible to keep them happy.
There will be toys, games, tablets, refreshments and PEC picture cards available, in a bid to help relieve any sensory issues the youngsters may have. The cards, used for picture exchange communication, can help calm children when they are in distress in uncomfortable situations.
The reason the event is being held on a day when the salon would normally be closed, is that some children do not feel comfortable going for a haircut on a day when it is open and busy.
Manageress Ruth, 33, said: “I’m very excited and I think it’s very much needed. My daughter has got autism and there’s not much support when it comes to things like this.
“I can go to the shop and people are tutting at me, because they don’t understand why she’s upset or yelling. There should be more services for people who have these needs.”
The team are also keen to learn a bit of Makaton sign language before the day, so that children who are deaf or cannot speak can feel comfortable as well.
Ruth said:“We’re wanting to raise awareness for autism as well as doing this. If the kids don’t want to sit in the chair, we’ll cut their hair on the floor. If they don’t want to come into the salon, we’ll do it outside. We’re going to try to do what each child wants.”
The salon is upstairs, so children with mobility issues will not be able to take advantage of this event.
A cut will cost £7.50, and anyone wanting to get involved can book an appointment by calling 01332 862740.
What is autism?
The National Autistic Society states that autism is a lifelong developmental disability which affects how sufferers perceive the world and interact with others. Autistic people see, hear and feel the world differently to other people.
Autism is a spectrum condition; all autistic people will share certain problems, but being autistic will affect them all in different ways.
There are around 700,000 people in the UK living with autism, equating to more than one in 100, and autism can affect people from all walks of life regardless of race, ethnicity or class.
Some autistic people say the world feels overwhelming and can face considerable anxiety when facing everyday tasks which may seem mundane and easy for others.