One of the first video clips on Autism Speaks showed a little boy sitting patiently in a hair salon chair, letting them cut his hair. They said he had learned how to do that with the use of ABA therapy. I wondered how many hours they had spent preparing him, because there was no way that Zavier would ever sit in that chair. Zavier has let me cut his hair for a while at home, usually while he played on the computer. I didn't try to take him to the hair salon. Not because I had tried and failed, but because I know my kid and his fears, and the task seemed too daunting. I had mentioned it to his lead ABA therapist as a potential goal, but we had other more important priorities and goals, and didn't end up working on it with ABA. I figured we would probably work on it "sometime in the future" and then let it go.
Until today. We went today!
I started the process by negotiating it with him last night.
Me: "Hey Zavier, can I take you to the hair salon tomorrow?"
Me: "Please? You'll sit in a chair and they'll cut your hair with scissors. They won't touch your ears. Then we'll go get fries."
Zavier: "Fries? Yes."
Me: "Ok, so first haircut, then fries. Ok?"
So today after lunch, I took him to the small hair salon at the PX (a military store). It was quiet, and the hair stylist Teresa looked friendly. At first, he covered his ears in the waiting room chair, and looked miserable. Then he sat in the salon chair, and each time she took another step, he protested calmly: "No." But he cooperated anyway. First she put on the black cape, then the white neck thing, and then spritzed his hair all over with water. He looked nervous when she brought over the scissors and said "no!"... but I reassured him she wouldn't touch his ears. So he sighed and turned on the iPhone to watch a YouTube clip. After that, he was completely still. Snip snip snip, cut cut cut...he just sat there calm and quiet. She praised him a lot, and she seemed happily surprised that he was cooperating. Hair fell onto the phone, and he giggled as I tried to blow it off. When we were done, he waited patiently for me to pay for it (I gave her a huge tip), and then we left to get fries.
Huge success! :)