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Hair stylist's sensory-friendly salon for autistic individuals shows the importance of an inclusive experience

A compassionate hair stylist in Australia creates a sensory-friendly salon for people on the autism spectrum, offering a comfortable and inclusive experience.

Hair stylist's sensory-friendly salon for autistic individuals shows the importance of an inclusive experience
Cover Image Source: YouTube | InsideEdition

Individuals with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) navigate a world that often fails to fully understand their unique neurodevelopmental characteristics. People with autism often struggle with sensory processing, making routine life difficult. For many individuals on the autism spectrum, getting so much as a haircut can be an overwhelmingly challenging sensory experience. Fortunately, a hairstylist in Perth, Australia, has transformed her salon into a sensory-friendly environment to support her clients with autism. With empathy and a deep understanding of the significance of a comfortable setting, Stevie Vincent embarked on a mission to create a salon where her clients with autism could feel at ease while getting their hair done. This endeavor was close to her heart, as Vincent herself lives with ADHD and post-traumatic stress disorder, making her acutely aware of the impact of the environment on one's overall experience and well-being, especially while getting a haircut.

 



 

Salon customer Bee Strike spoke to Inside Edition, saying, "It feels like everything is too much and I'm kind of being swallowed up. I'm autistic and I have ADHD (Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder). My average experience with hairdressers is generally places that come with a lot of sensory overload." Salon owner Vincent expressed her motivation for creating a sensory-friendly environment: "I've spent so much time being uncomfortable. I don't want anyone else to be uncomfortable." This heartfelt sentiment reflects her personal experiences and drives her mission to ensure that her salon becomes a place where all clients, including those with autism, can feel at ease and entirely comfortable during their visits. Vincent goes above and beyond to accommodate her customers' sensory needs at the salon. If a customer finds noisy clippers overwhelming, she readily switches to scissors for a quieter experience. Recognizing that some individuals may be sensitive to certain sensations, she provides face shields and allows customers to smell products before use. To further enhance comfort, Vincent describes product textures beforehand, ensuring clients are comfortable with their application.

 

 

For instance, customers like Strike, who struggle with the stickiness of hair gel, can rely on Vincent to use alternative styling products that better suit their preferences and sensitivities. Through her thoughtful and considerate approach, Vincent strives to make her salon a genuinely inclusive and comfortable space for everyone. She recognizes that sensory overload can impact not only those with autism but also neurotypical individuals. By creating a sensory-friendly and accommodating environment at her salon, she aims to benefit a wider population. Vincent's commitment to making everyone feel comfortable is driven by a simple yet powerful belief that understanding and meeting individual needs is not challenging. She says, "I want people to feel as comfortable as they possibly can. Being able to find out what someone needs, it's not that hard to cater to it." With her empathetic approach and willingness to cater to each person's unique requirements, Vincent exemplifies how small gestures can create a more inclusive and welcoming space for all customers.

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