Sensory Sensitive Kids Cuts!
Finally! A Sensory Sensitive Salon for Kids in Seattle!
Parents of sensory sensitive kids, rejoice! Kelly Daring has created a space in Fremont tailored to children with sensory challenges. Read about Kelly’s story below. Thank you, Kelly!
Tell us about your career and the inspiration behind working with sensory sensitive children:
I’ve been a stylist in Seattle going on 18 years. In response to the noisy, busy environment of the salons I had been working at in the past, I decided to open my own small place in Fremont 3 years ago where I could set my own tone by incorporating my interests in mindfulness and meditation with my hair cutting and coloring services, beginning to bridge the gap in wellness and beauty.
9 years ago I became a father to a sensory sensitive kid on the spectrum and had to learn how to coax him slowly into tolerating what to him was a very challenging sensory experience, having his hair cut! Bribes, distractions and deal making all had their place at various stages and he grew into being much more comfortable with all the “buzzing, prickly hair, tugging and pulling”.
Two things that were always important were having the hair cut done in a consistent environment as free as possible from other onlookers or hubbub AND getting the cut done QUICKLY! These two things are especially true for younger kids.
Over the years I’ve seen all ages of neuro-diverse kids as well, and being able to intuitively engage with them on their own level with their often varied and fanciful topics of conversation and interests, has been as important as being able to judge when simple silence while working is appreciated.
Often times hair stylists feel the need to fill every minute with endless questions and commentary, sometimes in an effort to engage and put a kid client at ease, but often because they can’t help it. I strive to be aware of everyone’s subtle energetic cues to create an experience that is the most beneficial to my clients.
I’ve always cut the hair of the kids of my adult clients but a couple months ago realized after the encouragement from several of my clients that my unique environment could serve sensory sensitive kids specifically and that this may be an under-served population that might be looking for an alternative.
As much as possible I try to consult with the child about what they appreciate about their hair, their ideas or goals and also their challenges so they can learn to self-advocate. And of course bring in the ideas of the caregiver to make sure everyone is on board!
As you can tell from the photos of my salon on my web site www.kellydaring.com , my salon is not made up like Disneyland but I do have a small bin of an assortment of sensory toys, like a fidget spinner, squishy rubbery and plush toys and other tactile objects in addition to a small iPad we can use with Kids Netflix if we need for a few minutes of focused time.
I believe every young person can have the opportunity to have positive experiences of learning how to practice self care through regular grooming.