Aim for hassle-free hair care with these useful tips


Tips for Hair Styling

Haircuts and even simple hair brushing can become a problem when caring for a child with autism or other sensory related disorders. Behaviors such as tantrums, screaming, biting, hitting, and meltdowns that leave a parent exhausted, frustrated, and begging for a moment’s mercy are often the result of simply mentioning doing something to the hair.

So what can you do?

Being autistic children are hypersensitive, you may even have a child who experiences syneasthasia, the sensory occurrence where their senses mix up and an event or happening becomes too much for them. Many children dislike a deviation from their norms and familiar environments where they feel they have control are what they often need. Autism, accentuated by environmental factor is a very interesting and complex genetic disorder.

As a side note, as reported in a 2012 study regarding the prevalence of hair toxic metal concentrations seeming to be more common in children diagnosed with moderate to severe ASD, there is no evidence to state whether this is why autistic children are adverse to having their hair cared for, but it is something to be considered.

How to accomplish hassle-free brushed and styled hair?

Stimulate the scalp beforehand. A head massage, ruffling the hair, or anything that has nothing to do with brushing or styling at the hair will help you transition into the brushing and styling process.

Instead of heavy clips or thin elastics that can tug, grab or get the hair caught/tangles, use soft hair accessories like a scrunchie, soft-tipped clips or any other accessories that do not tug as much.

Use a blunt-tipped brush/comb: as it is recommended for detangling hair by beauty salons, a wide-tooth comb works well. Stay away from brushes unless they are blunt-tipped and necessary for styling.

How to get the hair cut meltdown-free?

  • Ready them with a detailed descriptions of the hair cutting process
  • Show them a picture of how their hair might look after the haircut.
  • Demonstrate how it might look by cutting a bit of your own hair or a doll’s
  • Make sure the haircut is scheduled for when your child is at his or her calmest
  • Ask the barber to use a sensitive shampoo as their scalps might respond differently than expected
  • Develop a routine for haircuts. Mark the first of each month (or any other day depending on how often you need it) for a trim/cut/etc.
  • If there is a sensitivity to the sound of scissors or buzzers near the ear, try using ear plugs

As long as you explain and account for every detail/step of the process you can ease any anxiety that may occur when it comes to hair cutting and styling an autistic child’s hair.

For more information about autism, please visit


Therapeutic Aquarium Programs

aquarium therapy

Aquariums can be both soothing and educational for children on the autism spectrum. At the Le Chemin ABA VB Learning Center in Paris, France, the therapeutic aquarium is key in behaviorally oriented programs. At the learning center some lesson plans are designed around the aquarium.

Having an aquarium can help in keeping children calm which can help prevent or reduce melt-downs. Children who are prone to emotional outbursts benefit from the soothing nature of the therapeutic aquarium.

At home, you can guide your child to participate in all activities aquarium related from designing and installing an aquarium to selecting compatible fish. Guide your child to participate in cleaning and maintaining their home aquarium. Participating in these activities may increase your child’s sense of responsibility help them learn to follow directions and aide in the development of their own self-help skills.

Sharing these activities with others may increase positive sibling relationships. Taking turns, working as team, reinforcing a joint activity. Creating and maintaining a therapeutic aquarium is hard work but fun and valuable for your child on the autism spectrum for so many reasons.

For more information on autistic therapy please visit

Success Stories: Rescue Dog Helps Autistic Boy Communicate

The heartwarming story of a boy and his dog is an American tale told time and time again, but never quite like this. Seven months ago, Friends of DeKalb Animal Rescue in Georgia found an emaciated, abused puppy, naming her Xena the Warrior puppy after her miraculous recovery. Little did they know, Xena would be a bit of a miracle herself.  Xena’s pictures were so astonishing that she quickly became a celebrity, bringing in tens of thousands of dollars for the rescue group. At a fundraiser for the animal rescue, Xena picked a pal—running straight to a little boy named Johnny. Johnny is an autistic boy who is verbal, but has always been very withdrawn and uncomfortable with others. Their grand introduction was puppy-love-at-first-sight. Johnny’s family adopted Xena once she was healthy enough to bring home. According to Johnny’s parents, Xena brought about a change in Johnny almost instantly—encouraging him to talk often and excitedly. Johnny asked his mom to make a video of him and Xena for Autism Awareness month, which he learned is also Prevention of Cruelty to Animals month. In the video, Johnny is wonderfully spoken, sending a message about understanding saying, “Spread the word to be nice to animals and nice to kids like me.”

Animal assisted therapy is a popular approach to coping with autism, but rarely is it associated with communication skills and habits like Johnny’s transformation. Perhaps Johnny and Xena’s instant connection had something to do with Xena’s marginalization. Some animal assisted therapy programs are also animal rescue and rehabilitation centers, like Merlin’s Kids. In these programs, like with Johnny’s story, the support is mutual and the affects are astonishing. To see Johnny’s video, visit: Do Share your opinion on animal assisted therapy or stories of your children with animals!


Partners with Soroka Medical Center and ALUT in Region’s First Autism Conference

(Beersheva, Israel – September 8, 2011) On September 5th, a group of 120 biomedical researchers, educators, clinicians and parent/advocates from throughout Israel’s Negev region met in Beersheva for a daylong conference about the latest advances in autism research and treatment in Israel and throughout the world.

This historic conference – the first such regional autism gathering ever held in Southern Israel – was convened by the International Center for Autism Research and Education (Icare4autism), working in close collaboration with Dr. Gal Meiri of Soroka’s Child and Adolescent Psychiatry Service of the Soroka Medical Center and ALUT. Continue reading

2012 Conferences

January 27-29, 2012 – Association for Behavioral Analysis International (ABAI) – 2012 Autism Conference – Philadelphia, PA

February 22 – 25, 2012 – Learning Disabilities Association (LDA) 49th Annual International Conference – Chicago, IL

February 28-29, 2012 National Autistic Society – in Manchester, UK – Program schedule  for 2012 conference will be available in September 2011 Continue reading