HOLT, Mich. — Simple things that many of us take for granted, aren't always as simple for parents with children on the autism spectrum.
That can include haircuts.
During Autism Awareness Month, kids with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) can get their hair cut at Ashley Spannagel’s hair studio for free.
"It kind of was an idea one morning, and I said, 'that's what I’m going to do,’" said Spannagel.
It started when a friend brought in their son with ASD, and he wasn't quite ready to sit in her high chair.
"And then he said he wanted to go outside. So we ended up on the sidewalk, and he sat on mom's lap, and he let me cut his hair for the first time, outside, but you know sometimes it takes that. And at one point I was like, 'wow, this can be difficult,'" she said.
Today, she's cutting Violet Pike's hair.
Violet is on the spectrum, and has ADHD as well.
"She has to be redirected a couple times, but for the most part, she was really calm, and did really well," her mom Brittney said. "Ashley always makes her feel very comfortable, and she loves it. She loves coming in."
Knowing how difficult the experience may be, Ashley’s got some advice for parents who bring their kids in for haircuts, even if they're not on the spectrum.
"Bring them in, let them look around, see the different tools we use...that way they're comfortable."
And what she's doing isn't going unnoticed.
"I know how hard it is for most parents to find someone to do this for them, and even to get someone who is patient and understands kids with ASD...it's so amazing that Ashley’s doing this," said Pike.
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