Everyday Heroes: The Haircut Edition

haircut for sensory processing disorder

There are countless triggers for a child’s meltdown: a bad day, harsh words, a fussy mood, or simply the environment they are in. This latter factor especially affects children with autism as their meltdown triggers are often rooted in sensory afflictions. 

Hypersensitivity, which is one of the most common effects of Autism Spectrum Disorder, causes everyday sensations to feel tremendously unpleasant. For example, what might feel silky to a “neurotypical” person could feel like sandpaper to a person on the spectrum. Wouldn’t you freak out if people were constantly assaulting you with such rough textures?! 

In the case of eight-year-old Michael Flores of Vernon, New Jersey, hypersensitivity sparks hits its peak when he gets a haircut. His parents originally believed that it was perhaps the experience of going to the barbershop, or the barber himself, that caused their child such distress. After attempting to cut his hair at home with disastrous results, they realized there was something else at play. 

Clearly Michael could not simply avoid haircuts for the rest of his life, but his parents did not know what other alternative they could turn to. After their older son David’s positive experience with Freddy Tineo at Bladez Barbershop, however, their luck took a turn.

The Flores family does not know exactly how Tineo is able to calm Michael so well while cutting his hair. He is the only person whom Michael feels comfortable enough with to receive a hair cut without spiraling into sensory-overload induced tantrums. They do not know if it is something about Tineo’s technique or his personality that calms Michael. Nevertheless, they were over the moon that they had at last found a solution.

When Michael’s family learned they would have to move to Virginia Beach, Mrs. Flores was particularly devastated. Tineo remained the only person who could successfully approach Michael with scissors. As a mother, she could not bear to see her child in such distress as he had formerly been in, but she simply could not see another alternative.

After posting on Facebook, “If I had unlimited funds I would fly Freddy back and forth to cut Michael’s hair,” her wish was unexpectedly granted. Tineo was moved by her message greatly.

“I didn’t know how important [the haircuts were] to her as a parent until she posted something on Facebook. That really did something to me,” Tineo says. “I remember reading the post and talking to my wife [and saying] ‘I think I am going to fly there and cut his hair.'”

Since then, he’s answered the Flores’ prayers and made two separate plans to visit the family in their new home, just so he can accommodate their son’s unique needs. What turned into a simple barber-customer relationship has since flowered into a close relationship, the likes of which the Flores had never expected from a mere acquaintance. They could not be more happy or grateful to have found such a hero in an everyday man.

Written by Sara Power

This entry was posted in Autism Action Alerts, Autism Advocacy, Autism Alternative Treatment, Autism America, Autism Awareness, Autism in the Family, Autism News, Autism Symptoms, Autism Travel and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Post a comment or leave a trackback: Trackback URL.

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