The Gent’s Den Barbershop in Inchicore has recently opened Dublin’s only sensory barber room. Maggie Radecka, co-owner of the barbers has been a barber for 27 years and the last 15 years has been working in Ireland and has a great passion for helping those with sensory needs.
Maggie commented “Over those years I cut hair for many children and unfortunately came across so many of them that were so afraid of getting a haircut done that some of them were getting sick on the chair. I always wanted to make the experience of getting a haircut easy and enjoyable for kids like that but never got a chance working for someone else. In the shops I was working over the years some children were forced, held against their will just to get the haircut done. Poor little souls were crying, getting sweaty, sick and traumatised. Children like that don’t even want to look in the barbers window when passing by the shop as they remember what they’ve experienced and every next haircut brings more fear, stress and pain. This is not right”.
The Inchicore barber added “On top of all that we also have little clients with autism and it is so important to understand that those children experience everything differently and before we proceed with any sort of service we should let them show us and teach us how they would like us to deal with them. Things like that take time and sometimes few visits without a haircut but eventually it pays off once you see a smiley face after the cut us done, no tears beside those from the mothers who get emotional and relieved that they didn’t have to go through the battle again”.
The Inchicore business have built a Sensory Barber Room which is also Autism Friendly with Sensory toys and stars light projector and calming lava lamps, a place where kids can come and play even without getting a haircut (free of charge) and a place where they can play with their barber and get to know them to build a relationship.
Maggie concluded “We have only been open a few short weeks and since we opened the room we had a fantastic response. It is an emotional journey for parents. One of our favourites, a 6 year old boy who grew his hair for almost two years because he was so afraid to get a haircut, he visited the room three times to play and then let us cut his long locks and now he is a proud owner of an awesome short haircut, but most importantly he leaves the shop with a smile on his face”.
For more information see https://youtu.be/RN8mQOC0c1I