Monday, June 5, 2017

Barber supports dignity of teen with autism by finishing haircut in mom's mini-van

Cork, Ireland barber Donncha O'Connell has been cutting Evan O'Dwyer's hair since he was a little boy. Now 16, Evan has severe autism and sensory processing disorder, so unusual or unpredictable noises frighten and agitate him. He is non-verbal, so when stimulus overwhelms him, he cannot express himself. Even though O'Connell and his hair-cutting routine are familiar, some days the busy barber shop is too much stimulation.

Last Monday was just such a day. Right in the middle of a haircut, Evan became agitated. He fled to his safe place, his mom's mini-van parked outside. Rather than leave the teen with a half-done haircut, O'Connell followed. While Evan's brother kept him calm and his mom captured the barber's exceptional kindness on video, O'Connell finished with the clippers in the mini-van's back seat, climbing in and around the seated teen.

Small kindness matters.

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