Hairdresser Helps Autistic Boy Actually Enjoy His Haircut For The First Time

by Toni Hammer

One hairdresser makes a simple gesture to accommodate her special needs clients and makes one mom very happy.

The mom of two special needs children was touched by a simple, yet seriously incredible, gesture made by her hairstylist. Laura Connerton’s twins, Liam and Madysen, both have autism as well as Pitt Hopkins syndrome, a rare genetic disorder. Kids with autism can struggle with haircuts, but all that ended when Connerton took her twins to see Julia Werder at a Philadelphia Supercuts. According to a Facebook post Connerton posted to The Mighty, Julia went way above and beyond to treat her kids comfortable.

Image courtesy of Laura Connerton

This is Julia “Jules” Werder, a stylist at a local Super Cuts in Philadelphia, Pa. She is an exceptional human being. She needs the world to know she is a beautiful soul inside and out for what she has done for my family. A simple gesture of a welcoming attitude of acceptance, where others often can not understand. She simply came into their world. It may not seem like a grand gesture to others, but, it’s a huge moment for families of children with disabilities or different abilities. When stressers of every day “typical” life’s routine are changed. Something as simple a cutting my daughter’s hair on the salon floor, may seem insignificant to many, but made a world of difference to us. She even cut my son’s hair standing by the front windows of the salon, because he loves cars so much. It’s the little things in life that make all the difference to our special needs loved ones. Thank you Jules for recognizing that difference.

Werder entered the world of her clients rather than trying to get them to conform to what the majority of society does. She met them where they were, on the floor and by the window, and, for a moment, put this mom on cloud nine because someone took the time to make a difference in her kids’ lives. Someone took a few extra moments to figure out what was best for her clients and did the best job she could do.

While it can seem a bit unorthodox to cut someone’s hair on the floor instead of in a chair, is it really that different than some of the special requests customers can make in other establishments? Many of us have friends who have a laundry list of dietary requests at restaurants. Or we have our own rituals to help ourselves deal with things that make us uncomfortable that just aren’t noticeable to the world. We all have quirks, we all have little idiosyncrasies that make us who we are, but no one ostracizes us the way those with special needs are treated.

If you really think about it, Werder didn’t go that far out of her way to make her clients happy and isn’t that the main job of anyone in the customer service industry? So dream with me for a minute. What if everyone in every industry changed things up just a smidgen to accommodate those with special needs? How much easier would that make the lives of parents with special needs children? How much happier could they be? And for doing something so small like sitting on the floor to cut someone’s hair.

Werder told The Mighty, “At my salon we try to accommodate all of our guests, so there’s no difference in doing something for someone who has a disability. I also saw how much anxiety Laura had when she brought her kids in, so we wanted to help make things better for her too. If there’s a way I can make things more comfortable for everyone, I’m more than willing to do it.”

All she wanted was to make things better for everyone involved. Hats off to you, Ms. Werder, for treating these kids just like everyone else. I hope your actions inspire others to follow suit and make this world a better place… by starting with one gesture.