Amy Hall celebrated her son’s first haircut appointment and the moment her daughter permitted a hug. For parents of children with autism spectrum disorders, even small gestures and slight behavioral changes count as developmental breakthroughs.
Hall’s son Jacob, who was diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder at age 2, once spiraled into emotional outbursts when anyone tried to touch his hair. Hall and behavioral therapists at the Highlands Center for Autism in Prestonsburg, Kentucky, rehearsed Jacob’s first visit to the barbershop. Every day for several weeks, Jacob practiced getting his hair washed in a bathtub at the school. He took a field trip to the barbershop and climbed into the barber’s chair. He even had the chance to inspect the barber’s combs and shears before the big day.
Maggie, Hall's second child, was diagnosed with an autism disorder at 19 months. She went through a stage avoiding touch, even embraces from her parents. Early intervention and repetitive behavioral training helped Maggie overcome her fear and warm up to cuddling with her parents.
“I think of how difficult some of those months were for us, and how far they’ve come,” Hall said.
After Jacob was diagnosed in 2011, Hall applied for a scholarship at the Highlands... FULL STORY