If you are a parent like me with a child on the spectrum, chances are we both have something very unique in common. Something that most would think is a very simple thing to do, something that is just a part of life. But for us, it’s not.
Do I dare say this forbidden word? I don’t know if I can handle to even whisper it… but here it is:
“HAIRCUT”. Yes, there, I said it.
This word in the Autism world for most is a very very bad word and almost
sounds like an insult or cuss word when we hear it leave someone’s lips.
How many amens am I getting right now?
When Eli was little, this very word was like world war III just broke out. Like an Apocalyptic rage started and zombies would soon be roaming the earth in chaos and destruction.
Okay, maybe not that bad, but it would feel pretty darn close.
I tried everything under the sun to make his haircuts into a positive thing.
We went to salons, they were to busy and he wouldn’t let anyone touch him. Hearing the clippers turn on would make him jump out of his seat and run for the door. Even after watching his brother Carter go a million times, it always ended up with us in the car waiting for Carter to get finished.
At home, I used and tried everything.. watching videos, playing videos, snacks, rewards, covering face, I even bought silent trimmers (If you would like to try some, I would suggest these from amazon: https://amzn.to/2FUmfTk) which were much more silent than your regular ones.
The feeling of it running over his hair, the vibration, the sound… He would go into shear torture every single time.
There were only two options: Shave Eli’s whole head quickly in one swoop, or use a combo of mostly scissors (This would painfully take hours with breaks because he couldn’t hold still) and then shave at the end… but scissors were even an issue. I tried massaging his head before hand, briberies, anything I could think of. But he was always so miserable and it always left him with sensory overload and in tears. I hated him feeling that way. It just wasn’t fair. So we would hold out as long as we could, schedule a day just perfect where he didn’t have to go anywhere or do anything to crazy the following day. Eli did progress in getting his hair cut, but not ever enough and we still were both miserable.
Around the time the movie Aquaman came out Scott and all the boys decided they were going to start growing their hair out because it would be cool… What?! I’ve thought about doing this with Eli in the past, but it just never really sunk in and I didn’t know how he or I would manage long hair… It is a lot more to take care of. I knew if it didn’t work out, we could just cut it. But, that would regress any and all progress we have ever gotten.
Could this be the answer to such pain and agony?
We were going to find out.
Fast forward about one and a half years later…
So far it’s the best decision we have ever made. Eli is so much happier, and he LOVES his long hair. He does require help in washing it, but he did before as well… something we will continue to work on. We have to work on brushing and his sensitivity to small tangles, but still so worth it.
When we go places, we hear people reference Eli as her, or “how are you two ladies doing?” I just laugh, because Eli doesn’t notice and he does have a pretty face and lashes to die for.
Eli and I will start working on trips to the salon again this summer, if for nothing but to get his hair washed so he is still working on something and then get to where he is okay with having it trimmed. I am fine with trimming his hair myself, but I need to prepare Eli to be self sufficient without me as well.
For now we are enjoying the freedom from it all. And, for anyone who thinks boys and men should have short hair I have only two words for you…. “Jason Momoa”. 😂🥰
I look forward to this summer and hopefully helping my son to see the salon as a fun and relaxing experience rather than a worst nightmare.
I have had a few questions about the colorful knobby things you will see Eli chewing on all the time.
He definitely seems to enjoy them right?!
These are sensory tools. These tools can help with oral motor skills as well as with giving that sensory input. When Eli was little, he didn’t take to them at first… but he loves them now and sees that they are very valuable to giving him that input he needs.
Eli is always putting stuff in his mouth. Strings from socks and shirts, to bottle caps and other things that aren’t so great for him to be doing.
When he was little he would rather lick the milk jug than drink the cold milk inside. What he was really doing was seeking that sensory input. The coldness of the jug, and the texture was providing some kind of sensory input he was seeking and needing.
My favorite brand, which is the original oral motor chew tool is from ARK Therapeutic Products which was invented by Debra C. Lowsky, MS, CCC-SLP.
These grabbers have so many different uses and there are different levels of toughness as well to include Soft/Standard, XT/Medium Firm, and XXT/Very Firm. Eli has changed on which ones he likes over time and now uses mainly a mix between the Soft and Very Firm.
I love the fact that these are all made in the USA, they are Medical Grade Material, FDA compliant with NO lead, phthalates, PVC, BPA, or Latex.
Here is the link to the XXT/Very Firm grabber I purchased for Eli as shown in the picture: https://amzn.to/2RTd0Za
Here is a combo of the Soft/Standard, and XT/Medium Firm that Eli also Loves: https://amzn.to/38CUknb
If you love Amazon as much as I do, Here is ARK’s Amazon page with all their products that are available on Amazon: https://amzn.to/2QQbE2g
And here is a link to check out ARK’s website for more information and to see all the products they have: https://www.arktherapeutic.com/
When do you take down your Christmas decorations?
We normally wait until the day after New Years but Scott (hubby) asked me the other day if I wanted him to do it early.
As much as I’d like to move on to the next thing because of my pure love of decorating, and now that Christmas is over, I am still enjoying the beauty of it all.
Even while I am cooking dinner and the boys are having their screen time, we are still talking and conversing and the air well… it still has a bit of that magical feel.
Eli’s lions Simon and Ralph are nestled in the tree and I just feel so thankful for the beautiful life I have been given. For my sweet husband and my beautiful children.
I often wonder what is going on in this sweet boys head, I bet more than I could ever imagine. Eli thinks so deeply sometimes, it looks like he is lost in an ocean of endless waves. Eli is so smart, it’s no wonder why we deal with aggressive behaviors. I see mothers on social media talk about their Autistic child and how luckily their child is not aggressive. I am not one of these mothers.
I’m going to be flat out honest with you. My son can be aggressive. Extremely aggressive. Lately we have been lucky it hasn’t been so bad, and we have more better days then not thanks to trying something natural to help his anxiety. But, it has in the past been extremely bad, hospital bad. My heart is so heavy when he has a meltdown. In the past when the meltdowns have been so bad, I hold it together until it is over and then find myself locked away in my master bedroom bathroom where no one can hear, unglued with what seems like an endless stream of tears. Once they dry up, I pick myself up and move forward. If you are a mother of an aggressive autistic child, you know exactly what I am talking about. The pain that strikes through your entire body known to you as pure, gut wrenching heartache.
Have you ever thought about the saying “You are to smart for your own good”? Well, imagine being “to smart for your own good” and not being able to get the words out, tell someone, do something about it. Then you feel a surge of anxiety and like you are losing your mind. You flip out into a nervous breakdown most likely ending in something broken, or someone hurt.
People can look at Eli and think “What a brat!”, or “You just need to straighten that kid out”, or “I wouldn’t be able to put up with that.” The truth is at times I wonder if I can handle it, but all in all I know he is fighting a much stronger, bigger battle inside then I ever will. And for that, I can handle whatever comes… and I will always help calm the storms.
When Eli was diagnosed with Severe Autism, he was also diagnosed with a Severe Anxiety Disorder. Now, imagine being to smart for your own good, with a diagnosis of Autism, and anxiety.
For King (As my husband started calling him one day, which is quite fitting for Eli’s personality and his love of lions.), Sensory input helps a lot. Constantly working on how to use words and express feelings helps, and as needed but wish we didn’t, medication also helps. Eli has come so far… and I know he can go further. He is very strong willed and has surpassed things doctors have thought he wouldn’t be able to accomplish. He has goals and dreams like a lot of teens. He talks about going to college someday. We don’t know what the future holds for him, but I know he can overcome anything. He proves it everyday.
Just maybe, Slow and Steady does win the Race.