Having a child on the autism spectrum can make even the simplest of life's situations difficult, trust me, two of my daughters are on the spectrum and it can make things quite complicated, like going to get your child a haircut. I tried taking my older daughter to get her haircut once, and it did not go well. It was a mixture of being around strangers, all the sights and sounds, and just having to sit still. That is why I was so touched when I heard this story.
Wyatt Lafreniere was diagnosed with autism when he was two years old. Every child has different "symptoms" for lack of a better word, for Wyatt, he is hyper-sensitive to sound and touch. This has made getting his hair cut beyond difficult. This has also made many barbers and hairstylists refuse him service. As a parent of autistic children I can't hold that against them, it is a very difficult situation.
But when Wyatt's mother Fauve took him to see Franz Jakob, owner of Authentischen Barbier in Rouyn-Noranda, Quebec, everything changed.
Franz welcomed them into his shop, and he undertook the challenge of cutting Wyatt's hair with both patience and compassion. Franz has now been cutting Wyatt's hair for over two years and they have developed a special routine for getting it done. Franz will follow him around the shop until he is comfortable, even getting down on the floor with Wyatt. Sometimes that's all it takes, patience, compassion and creativity.
"I'm trying to take care of all my clients. It's in my nature to go the extra mile," he said. "There's no difference for me if I'm doing a popular singer or if I'm doing Wyatt. I'm doing what I need to do to... get a real nice haircut, honestly. That's what it's all about."
From the father of autistic children, Franz, my hats off to you.