Salon’s unique concept for children with autism

Tianna Taggart (5), Jessica Parker (4) and Jack Finlay (8) all eagerly awaiting their new hair cuts at the Kidz Shack.
Tianna Taggart (5), Jessica Parker (4) and Jack Finlay (8) all eagerly awaiting their new hair cuts at the Kidz Shack.

A Lisburn hair studio has taken steps to ensure that every child can enjoy getting their hair cut - even those who find the experience of visiting a busy salon a difficult one.

The Kidz Shack in Lisburn Square, a new concept salon created by the mastermind behind the hugely successful barber shop, The Man Shack, features everything a child could ever want to keep them entertained while getting their hair done.

The salon features Playstations, TVs, kid-friendly tablets, retro table computer games, a football table, popcorn and slushy machines, and even a soft play area for little ones. It also has a special sensory room designed by children with autism, for children with autism.

Kenny Parker, creator of The Kidz Shack, says he wanted to make it so that every child could enjoy the experience and sought the help of a local autism spectrum disorder (ASD) family support group.

“Children dealing with any form of ASD often find it hard to come into a busy salon to get their hair cut. We realised that when they started coming to The Man Shack and using our Vintage Room, which was designed to allow gents to relax and enjoy a quieter experience at the barbers in their own dedicated private room,” he explained.

“We decided that this was a big thing for young children and decided that when we opened the Kidz Shack that this was a very important aspect for us to include.

“The Belvoir ASD Family Support Group have provided our staff with training and support on dealing with children on the spectrum – they have been a massive help.”

Young children getting their hair cut for the first time will be treated to a special certificate to mark the occasion, while every child will leave with a temporary Kidz Shack ‘tattoo’. The new salon even features a photo booth so parents can capture their child’s new look before they mess it up.

“I wanted a trip to the hairdressers to no longer be a boring experience for children and we’ve tried to think of every angle to make sure that this is about the kids and how they enjoy the experience as opposed to them getting fed up sitting in a chair,” Kenny continued.

“We hope this will make life easier for the parents and we’ll even make sure mums and dads get a free tea or coffee while they wait.”

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