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Special cuts for kids with special needs

Updated: Monday, January 13 2014, 12:15 PM CST
Reported by: Sherry Christian
Contributor: Rachel Snody (RSnody@local21news.com)

Your child's first haircut can sometimes be challenging for young ones and parents. But if your child has special needs, it can be down right stressful.

Rich and Julie Hammer, owners of a Dauphin County barber shop, decided to cut out that stress with a special day that is making a difference in the lives of those families. 

Julie and Rich own Timeless Barbershop in the High Pointe Commons Shopping Center in Swatara Township.  "Parents shouldn't have to cut their child's hair when they're sleeping," Julie said.

The couple knows about the challenges of cutting hair of a child with a disability.  Their daughter Rachel has Autism, a disorder that can make a child very sensitive to noise, lights and touch, sensations that can happen at Barber Shops and salons.

Every month, the couple close the doors of their shop and open their chairs to families with special needs children.

Lolly Myers takes full advantage of it. Her 6-year-old daughter Anna has Autism and Epilepsy, and may not stay in the chair.  "She's gonna scream, she might hit Julie, she might get a little bit nasty with her.  Julie works with her anyway,is very patient and kind, Rich, too.  They're very nurturing towards Anna and that's what's important to her," Lolly said.

It's important to Lolly to have a public place for her family to have a typical experience like getting a hair cut.  "It's hard to find public places sometimes where you can go and they'll throw a fit and it's okay," Lolly said.

And it's okay at Timeless Barbershop. Every third Sunday from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. they will turn down the lights, the music, and even the clippers, which would cause sensory issues that may raise the hair on a special needs kid's neck, preventing the hair on their heads from being cut. That's right, quiet clippers.

The Hammers' attention to detail has given many families such a positive experience that they keep coming back.  "We have people come in that no one else can cut their children's hair and after six months they come in and say Johnny or Suzy said they wanted a hair cut!  They wanted a haircut, they were asking for a haircut," Rich said.

"We want to make a friendly environment, it may be a challenge at the beginning, but consistency is key," said Julie.

Consistency is key and that's why the Hammers offer the special needs night every month. But if Sunday doesn't work for you, they will open their shop early or stay late during the week if you need it.

Special Needs Night is every third Sunday from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. at Timless Barbershop located at 4635 High Pointe Boulevard in Swatara Township.  For more information, call 717-920-9595. Special cuts for kids with special needs


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