Sheffield Barbershop Opens Autistic-Friendly Studio

10 February 2022

The Cutting Crew on London Road has adapted part of its salon to create a comfortable space for clients with learning difficulties or mental health issues.

The salon has made simple changes that can make a huge difference to those who need it. These facilities include a quieter studio, dimmer lights, and fidget toys. This can help clients who feel overwhelmed in a typical salon environment.

Kathy Chisholm, the owner of the salon, said: “My son has autism and I realised how much of a struggle it is for him. I wondered how many other people have similar issues and I thought I would offer my services to people with autism; students, children and adults. The number of people that have been coming in with their children is amazing and there are adults too who have been living with autism for years that have wished this service was available sooner.

“Sometimes when clients are children I’ll play with them first, I’ve got toys and fidget toys which makes them relaxed before worrying about having their haircuts. It can be time-consuming but that’s the time I want to give to clients who need extra attention and this service.

“You’ve got to give a little bit back so that it encourages them to feel safe with me and feel like I’m their friend. Patience comes naturally to me, I haven’t got a full idea of what they’re going through but each day in the salon is a chance to learn and understand more”.

Clients have travelled from all over South Yorkshire and even Nottingham to access The Cutting Crew’s services.

Lisa Bradley, 44, Deputy Head of the Journalism Department at the University of Sheffield, has an 11 year old son with ASC (Autistic Spectrum Condition). She said: “Ever since my son was a baby going to the barbers has been a total nightmare. Because of the sensory aspect, noises such as the clippers can be absolutely terrifying.

“I have always been quite lucky as my friend is a hairdresser so I can take my son to her house and use his noise cancelling headphones so it is much less of a scary experience. I have never been able to take my son to a typical salon so I think that this initiative is fantastic, I am not aware of any other salons offering similar services.”




Written by Caitlin Hart

First year journalism student at The University of Sheffield.

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