At HairPlay cutting hair is our normal. We know that the scissors will not hurt us. We know that the staff are friendly and kind. We know exactly what to expect.
We also know, that for children with additional needs, these things don’t seem so certain!
A haircut isn’t a simple task for many, and we know that this can often be the case for children with additional needs. The task of going to the salon can seem daunting and stressful, for both your child and you. For example, we know that difficulties with: noise, sensory sensitivity (both under-sensitive and over-sensitive) and things such as a change in routine can make the experience of the salon difficult.
We believe it is important for HairPlay to be an inclusive environment, one that everyone can enjoy, and we know that because each and every child is different this can be a difficult task to accomplish: but we are adamant we will!
With our specialist areas full of toys, games, iPads and much more, we often find that we are able to successfully pamper even those children who normally find getting their haircut a painful experience. With these wonderful resources in place, children of all needs have access to engaging items which help them feel more comfortable in an environment they aren’t used to. The salon might be different, but the items and games we use are familiar, creating an environment which feels like a home from home and helps transform that scary activity into a fun, positive activity.
While we’ve designed out salon to be as kid friendly and inclusive as possible, we also understand that the most important part of providing a good experience is the haircut itself – and the success of that comes down to our amazing staff. In order to achieve this, we continually try and educate ourselves, ensuring we are aware of a variety of different things we can do to support your child. Due to the nature of cutting hair, and how difficult this can be for your children, we have done lots of research and spoken to some professionals in the field in order to develop the best strategies to use when cutting the hair of a child with additional needs, which we have listed below.
Arranging to see a haircut: because this may be a new environment for your child and that can be rather scary, if they have a sibling getting a haircut on the same day we can use this to familiarise them with the experience. We try to include your child throughout the process, so they know exactly what to expect. They get to see the friendly staff, fun environment and, of course, the lovely treats we supply at the end.
Planning ahead: we know surprising your little one with things like this can be hard, so we try to avoid this. We talk them through what will happen, in a child friendly way, and familiarise them with the objects and tools we use so they don’t seem so scary. You can help at home with this too – place us on the calendar with a little haircut symbol so they know it’s part of their routine and plan. Make it a positive. Something to look forward to. We find our little customers are often counting down the days until their next trip.
Quiet environment: this can be difficult for us as we cater for lots of children and we all know they can be very noisy at time. However, if this is likely to be an issue for your child then please get in touch before hand and we can try and find a quieter time in the diary that will suit them better.
Mirrors: we know that unexpected contact and touch can be a distressing moment for children with additional needs. If we know this in advance, we can ensure your child is sat with a mirror, so they are aware of what is happening. This way, there are no unexpected or unwanted surprises.
Communication: you know your child and their needs better than anyone and communicating with our hairdressers is crucial for us to successfully cut your child’s hair and provide a positive experience. If you let us know before hand we can do our best to adapt the way we work to suit your child and make sure our stylists are responsive to your little ones individual needs.
Finally, as we have already said, we know every child is different (including those with or without additional needs). We know that not every size fits all, in the same way one salon doesn’t necessarily fit all. We can, however, reassure you that we will do everything we can to make HairPlay the best environment for your little one.
If you are worried, if you have any questions, or want to know more about what we can do to cater for your child then we encourage you to contact us!
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