Hair Stylist's Interaction With Autistic Child Stuns Mom
Kristin Danley 1/12/2017
Jennifer McCafferty's 4-year-old son Isaiah Terrell has autism. Some individuals with autism are on one end of the spectrum and their social skills are barely distinguishable from others. But on the opposite side of the spectrum are people who have difficulty interacting with others, tolerating noises and need a bigger personal space zone than others.
On Dec. 29, Jennifer decided Isaiah needed a haircut. But Jennifer has always dreaded taking her young son to get a hair cut, because having styling tools and a stylist's hands near his ears bothers him, but the noise the clippers make can agitate him greatly.
But on this particular day, they decided to try a new stylist. Little did Jennifer know that this visit was one that she would never forget. They popped into a Sports Clips near Charleston, West Virginia, and were paired with an angel: Kaylen Barker.
When Isaiah climbed into the chair and realized what was about to happen, he wasn't having any part of it. He began screaming and became upset. But Kaylen paid no attention to Isaiah's screams, instead tuning in to his body, his expressions and his cues to see just what Isaiah needed from her. Jennifer posted on Facebook that Kaylen worked a miracle that day.
"She sat on the floor with my baby in her lap, and she cut his hair. They talked about Dory and Christmas, and she even let him spray her with her water bottle."
Jennifer was astounded at how Kaylen and Isaiah meshed. Kaylen was able to give Isaiah the haircut he needed, but did so at his pace. Jennifer wrote that Kaylen "did more for my heart than she will probably ever realize."
"I was ready to give up, but she wasn't. Autism can be so very, very hard, but people like this make our days just a little easier."
The post went viral and Kaylen even saw it. She responded to Jennifer's comments that Isaiah "made her heart smile."
"You are so lucky to have such a wonderful little boy. This whole experience has been so humbling and heartwarming. I never knew what impact just doing my job could have on someone. Thank you for letting me cut his hair."
Here's a touching video about their memorable interaction.
Parents of children with autism and Asperger's can be a bit leery of going out in public for fear of their precious children being frowned upon or misunderstood by others. But Kaylen responded to Isaiah's needs that day, got down to his level and made him feel comfortable with the process. It's amazing what one kind gesture can do!