Getting your child's haircut often goes something like this — a barrage of kicking and screaming, squirming in the chair, and even a complete temper tantrum with tears. This is something that Jim Williams, owner of Jim the Trim barbershop in Wales, sees on a daily basis. Williams sees clientele who have autism and don't like having their hair cut, and he does this to "reach out to families" who have autistic children. He enjoys helping kids, who often become very distressed during a haircut, feel more comfortable in the barber's chair. (Or on the floor, in some cases.)
The proof is in Williams' inspirational videos. As part of Autism Sundays — a day he closes his shop to his other clients and only opens for autistic kids — he posts videos showing him trimming kids' hair. Most recently, he trimmed Jayden's hair.
"This this is Jayden [during] his second visit to my barbershop," Williams captioned the video post.
Williams then goes on to talk with Jayden's father about the importance of raising awareness around autism in an effort to help kids like Jayden get the support they need from the communities they live in. Jayden's father isn't the only parent who is eternally grateful for William' commitment to autistic kids.
"We've been bringing Mason in for a few months now," the parents of Mason, another one of Williams' clientele explain. "Sometimes Mason likes to be just left alone and he will lay on the floor with his phone… Jim managed to get a few snips without Mason noticing — he didn't flinch or anything."
Now, Williams is taking his initiative, Autism Barbers Assembly, abroad. He's setting up shop in hair salons across the U.K. and is encouraging more hairdressers and barbers to follow his lead in helping more families who have children with autism. According to AutismSpeaks.org, autism "refers to a range of conditions characterized by challenges with social skills, repetitive behaviors, speech and nonverbal communication, as well as by unique strengths and differences."
In the U.S., the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimate that one in 68 children have autism.
This post was written by Ellie McDonald. For more, check out our sister site Now to Love.