Infinity Puzzle Project: Stylists bring haircuts to autistic children at home

Published: Jun. 2, 2023 at 10:16 PM CDT
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BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - Everyday tasks can become significantly more challenging for parents with autistic children. One particular task that can cause stress and sensory overload is getting a haircut. Recognizing this struggle, the Infinity Puzzle Project has introduced an innovative solution by taking the salon experience directly to the homes of these families.

Krissy Harmon, the founder of the Infinity Puzzle Project, understands firsthand the difficulties involved in getting her own son’s haircut. She describes the hurdles, saying, “As soon as he walks in, he’s hesitant to continue the noises. And then if I was successfully to get him in the chair, successful getting him in the chair, it would probably be a lot of hands flying while the scissors were going, or the clippers are going, and very scary. You know, no one wants to get hurt, giving a haircut or hurt someone while giving a haircut.”

In the past, Harmon has done her best to tackle the task herself. “You’re shaving their head or letting their hair grow out really long because you don’t want to deal with it or you’re scared to hurt them,” she shares.

To address this challenge and support families, Harmon had the idea of connecting stylists experienced in working with special needs children to these families, allowing them to have their haircuts in the comfort of their own homes.

Shelby Hicks, a hair stylist at Posh Salon, is one of the dedicated professionals collaborating with the Infinity Puzzle Project. Sharing her motivation, Hicks reveals, “My mom and her mom both were in the special education program for years; they retired into it.” She believes that making people feel important and beautiful is a crucial aspect of being a hairdresser.

Hicks explains her approach when working with autistic children, stating, “I try to slow down. If they feel like you can have a conversation with them and sit with them, play with them, you know, pick up the weights... generally speaking, we’re going to take all of our cutting utensils—our clippers, shears, scissors, and trimmers. We’ll also grab water bottles, combs, clips, stuff like that. We have some kids that like to play with the water bottles, so we’ll give them an extra one.”

Harmon emphasizes that this simple act can make a significant difference in helping families feel more in control. “You just want to feel normal,” she says. “That’s part of being a parent of a child who is different. But we also want them to look nice when they go to school, when we go to church. You know, we want them to look presentable. And I think that looks different for everybody, and that’s fine. But whatever that looks like for your child, you want that for them.”

While providing sensory-friendly haircuts is just one of the services the Infinity Puzzle Project aims to offer, Harmon envisions the project growing to encompass even more initiatives. “We want to help with so many other things,” she asserts. “We have a caregiver page on Facebook that helps connect caregivers with families in need... We all go get our hair cut, we get our hair done. Why can’t our kids, our adult children have the same?”

Harmon hopes that more stylists will join their cause. If you possess a skill that could contribute to their organization or if you are a parent seeking more information about their programs, visit their website and get involved.

The Infinity Puzzle Project is dedicated to empowering families of autistic children by bringing the salon experience home, reducing sensory overload, and fostering inclusivity.

For more information about the Infinity Puzzle Project and its initiatives, please visit their website.

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