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Local salon adjusts haircut experience to help put children with special needs, parents at ease

Posted at 8:54 PM, Dec 10, 2020
and last updated 2020-12-10 21:54:08-05

HEWITT, TX — Families that have children with special needs have had to face some extra hurdles during the pandemic.

"The changes in routine have been really hard for them. Missing therapy, they don't like the virtual learning," said Jennifer Johannsen, who has three boys on the autism spectrum.

Even simple tasks like haircuts were more than she could handle.

"Oh we would try to give them haircuts at home cause we didn't think nobody would accommodate them. Even with us they would scream and cry," said Johannsen.

Thankfully, places like Shear Shenanigans were able to reopen its doors.

While following CDC guidelines, they hope many families can get haircuts before the holidays.

"It's like really comfortable to get a haircut here. The people here are really nice talking to you. They always have something to talk to you about," said customer Dayton Ketchum.

Because children with special needs can be extra sensitive to things like sound and touch, the salon has staff members that specialize in giving those children haircuts on their terms.

"And it's okay however they behave when they're in here because we're gonna do whatever we can to make their experience the best it can be," said Sherry Fair, owner of Shear Shenanigans.

Fair says because of the pandemic, the salon lost about 50% of its business, but for her team, it's about so much more.

"It's a passion. It's more than a job. These kids... they lift your spirits. They bring you up on days that you're down," said stylist Tiffany Collier.

While the kids have fun in the sensory-friendly play area, parents get a chance to get a little "hairapy" treatment, as the salon is also for adults.

"Especially being a mother of special needs children, self care is so important. Even just coming and getting my hair done for an hour can make me feel 100x better," said Johannsen.

Santa Clause is planning on stopping by the salon on December 20 to take pictures with the kids.

This weekend, the annual "A Special Starry Night" event will be a drive-thru version, where families can network and learn about resources for the special needs community.

If you'd like to attend, the event will be outside the Hope & Believe Therapy Center in Waco Saturday, December 12 from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. at 4900 Sanger Ave.