By Ellie Pierce
A Sheffield hair salon has dedicated part of its premises to create a safe and comfortable environment for people living with autism.
Kathy Chisholm became the owner of The Cutting Crew on London Road in November 2020.
She says that since opening the autistic-friendly service has proved popular.
Mrs Chisholm said: “The salon is really, really busy.”
Appointments are being booked up quickly due to the response the salon has received from the public.
One online review said: “My son used the autism friendly service provided by Kathy. She was fantastic. [He has] extreme sensory issues around people touching his head and hair. Kathy was amazing with him.
“We won’t be going anywhere else.”
The room has sensory equipment and toys including princess dolls and cars. There is also a bubble machine and fidget toys.
Mrs Chisholm has experience caring for people with autism so is aware of various methods that can help her clients relax.
Some examples are singing whilst cutting hair or counting slowly to distract from the sounds of the equipment.
She understands that different people prefer different methods of relaxation. Therefore, she makes a note of what works with each client so she knows for their next appointment.
The COVID-19 pandemic made it hard for people living with autism to adjust back to normality.
Mrs Chisholm wanted to make her salon a space where people felt at ease. The salon is also open to people with learning difficulties and anxiety.
She said she has “been going into schools and doing talks” to spread awareness of her salon and allow more people to be aware of the opportunity available.
The autism friendly salon is open Wednesday to Saturday.
For appointments or more info call 0114 221 2992.