A local hairdresser is going the extra mile for families living with sensory processing disorders (SPD) and autism.
Illegal Lengths owner Babs Sharp is introducing sensory-friendly haircuts on the first Monday of every month, with clients able to make specific requests for their own needs and comfort.
“It could be loud, light, quiet, dark, standing up, sitting down or even having white noise like static playing on the radio – whatever we can do to help,” she said.
“We already have a lot of clients with sensory issues or disabilities, and have noticed that creating a comfortable setting is the best way to go.”
Local mother Katrina Webb has children with autism and was considering driving to Maitland to have their haircuts at a similar service before hearing about Illegal Lengths.
“I know mothers that have to cut their children’s hair while they sleep, or don’t get haircuts at all because it is too difficult,” she said.
“I can’t explain how much of a difference this will make – it will give parents the confidence to leave the house and be in a safe environment, and my kids will finally have trendy haircuts for school.”
Fellow mother Wendy Noon said her son Phoenix can be overwhelmed by things like other people talking near him, or even the feeling of someone touching his ears, or hair falling onto his shoulders.
“I am so excited – it is brilliant to see a local business getting on board,” she said.
“There is also a social element for parents who can catch up and have a chat without being judged if the children are behaving differently.”
“Autism and SPD awareness is really growing in Tamworth, and it can make so much of a difference.”
Illegal Lengths are no strangers to pitching in for the community, last year their ‘free haircuts for farmers’ saw them put a smile on hundreds of faces during tough times.
“We are in a unique position where we can offer these services to the local community,” Mrs Sharp said.
“It is important to get behind each other and offer support wherever we can when people are struggling.”
Sensory-friendly haircuts will be available from 9-11am on the first Monday of each month starting in March, although other times can be requested.