10 Tips for Brushing Your Autistic Child’s Hair

10 Tips for Brushing Your Autistic Child’s Hair

brushing autistic child's hair

For many parents, the task of cutting their child’s hair can be a daunting task, but for parents of children with autism, it can be especially challenging.

Autistic children may experience sensory overload and discomfort when their hair is being cut, leading to difficulty in maintaining their appearance.

In this article we are going to examine why brushing your autistic child’s hair is so hard, and give you some tips to make it a little easier. 

Let’s get started.

The challenge of brushing an autistic child’s hair

There are several challenges that you may face when trying to brush your autistic child’s hair, including:

Sensory issues: Many children with autism have sensory sensitivities, and the sensation of a brush or comb moving through their hair may be uncomfortable or overwhelming.

Struggling to stay still: Some children with autism may have difficulty sitting still for long periods of time, making it difficult to brush their hair.

Lack of cooperation: Your child may not understand or cooperate with the process of having their hair brushed.

Meltdowns or tantrums: Your child may become upset or have a meltdown when they are asked to have their hair brushed, which can be difficult and stressful for both your child and yourself.

Difficulty in maintaining a consistent routine: Maintaining a consistent routine and schedule can be challenging for your child, and this can make it difficult for you to ensure that your child’s hair is being properly cared for on a regular basis.

Now that you understand why your little angel is squirming around so much when you try to brush their hair, here are some tips that can help make the job a little easier. 

10 tips for brushing an autistic child’s hair

Here are 10 tips for brushing your autistic child’s hair:

Start early: Introduce hair care to your child at a young age so that they become accustomed to the sensation of having their hair brushed.

Use a soft brush: Choose a soft brush with flexible bristles to minimize discomfort.

Introduce new tools gradually: If you plan on using new tools, such as hair clips or elastics, introduce them slowly to give your child time to adjust.

Choose a quiet, calm environment: Try to brush your child’s hair in a quiet, calm environment to minimize distractions.

Use positive reinforcement: Use positive reinforcement and praise to encourage good behavior during hair care.

Make it a fun activity: Try to make hair care a fun activity by singing songs or playing games while brushing.

Allow your child to participate: Give your child the opportunity to participate in their own hair care, such as choosing a brush or selecting a hairstyle.

Use distractions: If your child becomes agitated, try using distractions such as a favorite toy or TV show to help them relax.

Take breaks: If your child becomes overwhelmed, take a break and try again later.

Seek professional help: If you are having difficulty brushing your child’s hair, consider seeking the help of a professional hairstylist who has experience working with children with autism.

Of course these tips will only be helpful if you have a comfortable brush. Here are some of the best ones on the market for autistic children. 

10 Comfortable Hair Brushes for Autistic Children

FridaBaby Fine or Straight Hair Detangling Kids Brush

The FridaBaby is perfect for fine or straight hair and is designed to effectively detangle and style hair without hurting the scalp. You don’t have to worry about pulling or breakage as the brush saves strands from tangles and tears.

OlyPegic Kids Hair Brush for Girls

An ordinary detangling brush basically rips through and pulls out the knotted hair instead of gently separating it, but the OlyPegic hair brush for women can gently loosens knots on wet or dry hair, without pulling or snagging.

Crave Naturals Glide Thru Detangling Brush

Ever since the Glide Thru Detangling Brush launched, other companies have tried to copy it! But only the Glide Thru Detangling Brush has firm, quality bristles that will not lose their shape! Ordinary bristle brushes work against the hair, basically ripping through and pulling out the knotted hair instead of gently separating it! But the unique cone shaped plastic bristles work to separate the hair sideways instead of down, gently unraveling even the toughest tangles.

Bsisme Curved Vented Brush

The vented hair brush is made from ABS resin material, ensuring it is durable while being lightweight. The nylon bristles of the vent brush for hair easily glide through any hair style without pulling or scratching and is easy to clean. The vented hair brush is made from ABS resin material, ensuring it is durable while being lightweight. The nylon bristles of the vent brush for hair easily glide through any hair style without pulling or scratching and is easy to clean.

Unicorn Hair Detangler Brush

The Unicorn Hair Detangler is perfect for a child with a tender head. You will still have to use a soft wet and dry first. The brush is great for getting hair in a tight ponytail and pigtails which soft brushes won’t work for.

Wet Brush Original Detangler Brush

The Wet Brush Original Detangler helps hair stay strong and healthy! Gently loosens knots, on wet or dry hair, without pulling or snagging. The moment you use it, you’ll feel the difference, and never want to try another hairbrush again.

Mini Boar Bristle Hairbrush

Made of well polished natural beech with 70% boar bristles and 30% nylon pins,easily penetrates through normal and thick hair, daily use helps to re-distribute oil from the scalp down the follicle to the ends of hair. The unique style is designed for childrens, so feel free to enjoy the process of combing hair, without pulling and crying.

CoComelon Hair Brush

This Hair Brush is made with rounded end bristles to stimulate blood flow to the scalp for healthier hair. It’s a detangler brush designed with wide gaps between each bristle making it less likely for hair to break with a Child Friendly Handle.

Olivia Garden OG Brush Detangler

Want to know how comfortable this brush is? Check out a customer review “I have curly hair and live in Michigan, where the humidity makes my hair tangle so easily. This brush goes through my wet hair like butter. When I brush my dry hair it’s gentle. Definitely recommend!”

The Knot Dr. for Conair Hair Brush

The Knot Dr. for Conair hair brush helps to remove stubborn tangles and matted knots from wet or dry hair. The brush comes with a storage case to keep the brush clean while protecting the bristles from getting damaged —no more bent or crushed bristles! The 212 Flexalite bristle count is just the right number and spaced just the right way to make detangling pain free! Blow-dryer friendly and super soft-touch grip handle makes it easy to hold and glide through hair effortlessly. 

How ABA Therapy can help with hair brushing skills

Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) therapy is a widely used and evidence-based treatment for autism that focuses on improving specific behaviors. ABA therapy can be used to help an autistic child with the process of brushing their hair in a few ways:

Establishing a routine: ABA therapy can help to establish a consistent routine for hair care, which can be especially important for children with autism who may have difficulty with routine and consistency.

Teaching new skills: ABA therapy can be used to teach your child new skills related to hair care, such as sitting still, tolerating the sensation of a brush or comb, and following instructions.

Improving cooperation: ABA therapy can be used to improve your child’s cooperation and willingness to participate in hair care by using positive reinforcement and rewards.

Reducing challenging behaviors: If your child exhibits challenging behaviors during hair care, such as tantrums or meltdowns, ABA therapy can be used to identify the function of these behaviors and develop strategies to reduce or eliminate them.

It is important to note that ABA therapy should be customized to meet the specific needs of your child, and it is best to work with a qualified ABA therapist to develop a treatment plan.

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