Child & Family Development Child & Family Development

January 5, 2016

Autism and haircuts: Occupational therapist, Kim Toomer has tips!

As a member of the occupational therapy team at the Pineville office of Child and Family Development, Kim Toomer MOT OTR/L knows that getting a haircut can be overwhelming to people with autism.  Often, people have anxiety about the out of the ordinary experience before and during the actual event. They can also have strong responses to the related sensory systems (touch, sounds, etc.) of the process. So, she was thrilled to find a resource to address this common challenge. 

Autism Speaks and Snip-Its partnered to create a video that provides suggestions and examples to help a person with autism have a more successful and pleasant haircut experience, including:

  • Tips to prepare (for the caregiver, the stylist AND the person receiving the service) 
  • Visual/ picture schedule 
  • Resource guide for finding stylists in your area that specialize in providing haircuts to individuals with autism.  We found 2 options in the Charlotte area:
  1. Snip Its, Huntersville, 704 987 0940,
  2. Kids Super Salone, Huntersville, 704 948 4151,

To read the full article or view a portion of the video guide, click here.  

Kim recommends that parents prepare for novel experiences with their child by letting them know what to expect in advance (steps in process, location, time needed, sounds/smells/objects that be around and other typical hallmarks of the event).  An occupational therapist may also provide some helpful customized suggestions and sensory diet modifications to facilitate success for your child.