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Supporting children with additional needs to get their hair cut

Introduction

Children with additional needs may find going to the hairdressers a scary and uncomfortable experience for a number of reasons:

  • Sensory overload – Hairdressers can be an assault on the senses -bright lights, noisy hairdryers and chatting, unusual smells and touch.
  • Pain or discomfort – Difficulties with sensory processing can make haircuts painful or uncomfortable for children, especially if they are not used to the sensation.
  • Understanding – Consider whether your child fully comprehends what is going to happen and why. A lack of understanding can easily cause a child to become upset.

Tips for Haircuts

Preparation

Chat to your child beforehand about what’s going to happen at the hairdresser and let them explore relevant storybooks or read them a social story about their visit.

Build up tolerance

Touch your child’s head at home, comb their hair with your fingers and get them used to having their hair brushed. Try to do this when your child is most comfortable and relaxed. Don’t worry if you need to stop before the hair is as short as you would like – there is always next time.

Distractions

Consider taking a favourite toy or a tablet for your child.

Face the mirror

Your child will be able to see and anticipate when they are going to be touched.

Change of clothes

Take something to change into after the haircut as many children find hair on their neck itchy and irritating.

Talk to your hairdresser

Explain any special requirements to your hairdresser in advance – it helps if they are quick and confident.

Reward

Consider a reward after the haircut – be consistent each time so your child knows what to expect.

Welcome to The Vinery Centre (Playscheme social story)

Easy read – the bedroom environment

This easy read document includes tips to create a good bedroom environment.

The bedroom environment

The bedroom environment plays an important role in promoting healthy sleep habits. Here are some tips to help you to make sure that your child’s bedroom supports a restful night’s sleep:

  • Decorate in neutral colours, avoid over stimulating bright colours.
  • Check the room temperature. If the room is too hot or too cold it can disturb sleep, around 18 degrees is ideal,
  • Create a gadget free zone. Using devices or watching TV before bed can suppress the production of melatonin, the sleep hormone, and make it more difficult to fall asleep.
  • Consider using white noise to mask out background noise.
  • Put away any toys or cover them with sheets at bedtime so that they don’t provide a distraction.
  • Keep the room dark to help with melatonin production. Consider using blackout blinds in the summer.
  • Keep the conditions in the room consistent throughout the night are important. Avoid using products that switch off or turning lights off when you go to bed.
  • Make sure the room is comfortable. The firmness of the mattress and pillows, the texture of the bedding and nightclothes are all important considerations, especially for those youngsters with sensory needs

Supporting your child’s sleep video

Watch Ruth, our Family Support Worker, talk you through the importance of sleep, the significance of sleep cycles and offer some advice on how to improve your sleep including how to deal with night waking, encouraging self-settling and establishing a good routine.

Transcript: Supporting sleep video

Easy read – how to make a complaint

Find out how to make a complaint about our services at Leeds Mencap.

Sleep diary

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