by Shannon Carr, Communications & Social Media Specialist

1Going to a barbershop filled with bright lights, loud music, the snipping of scissors, chemical smells and the whishing of water is enough to distress many children. And for those with autism spectrum disorder, like Aidan, it can be sensory overload.

“When Aidan was 3, family members took him to an honest to goodness barbershop,” his family recalled. “We brought all the requisite enticements, i.e, multiple goodies to ease his way into the chair and, hopefully, keep him there.”

The result?

“He never got to first base!” they said. “Aidan took an instant dislike to the surroundings and we promptly retreated.”

So they were relieved when Aidan joined Morgan Autism Center at age 5 and there was an accomplished haircut person on staff.

“From then until now (Aidan recently turned 19), she was the only person who has ever cut Aidan’s hair,” his family said.2

Since the employee stopped in 2014, though, the family has been searching for someone who could handle the job.

“Aidan has been doing so phenomenally lately that I suggested we take him in for a haircut since his hair was getting so long,” Room 16 Teacher Julie Asamoto said.

When she asked the family last month, they became suddenly quiet and gave each other wide-eyed looks.

“When Julie broached the possibility of taking Aidan to get a much needed haircut we were hesitant and dubious,” the family explained.

But after a few minutes, his mother gave the go-ahead.

“We gave it due consideration and agreed that Aidan, in the capable hands of Hector and Julie, should be given the opportunity to enjoy a haircut out in the world,” his family said.

After returning from a trip with classmates to Westfield Valley Fair mall on October 15, Julie reported back on the experience at MasterCuts.

3“Today we went and Aidan did GREAT!!” she wrote in an e-mail, with pictures attached. “We were there shortly after the store opened and no one else was there. It was perfect.”

Julie told Aidan he would receive a treat afterwards.

“And he quickly let me know he’d like a vanilla ice cream,” she said. “It was well deserved.”

Aidan’s family shared their feelings about the news.

“You can imagine our delight to receive the pictures Julie sent of the successful event,” they said. “Thank you Julie and Hector — just another example of your successful endeavors with Aidan.”