A teenager who is nonverbal and is severe on the autism spectrum went to the same barber for nearly his entire life. But one day two years ago he had another idea to have his hair cut. His kind barber helped soothe the teen by giving him a haircut in the family’s car—a happy place for the teen.
Evan O’Dwyer, 16 years old at that time, from Cork, has been going to his barber, Donncha O’Connell, in Ireland for 14 years. He is highly sensitive and was agitated while sitting in the barbershop.
“Donncha has been cutting Evan’s hair for the past 14 years but today Evan had other ideas and refused to stay in the chair,” Evan’s mom, Deirdre O’Dwyer, explained on Facebook.
“I [usually] need to cut his nails, brush his teeth and and shave him, all while he’s asleep,” O’Dwyer told Inside Edition. “We got him into the barber’s seat and O’Connell got one strike with the clippers and Evan was up and out of the seat.”
The kindhearted O’Connell isn’t a man to be put off a challenge, and he decided to improve by enlisting Evan’s brother Dylan to help him cut Evan’s hair in the backseat of the car, where Evan felt at ease.
“I knew to avoid a meltdown the best thing to do was to get him into the car. That’s his happy place,” O’Dwyer said.
“It’s great when you have a brilliant barber who totally understands autism and who will go to any lengths to make your child feel comfortable,” O’Dwyer posted May 29 on Evan’s Facebook page.
“I’ve never cut anyone’s hair in the back of the car. (It’s) not a huge deal. Obviously, it’s a big thing for Deirdre. You do what you have to do,” O’Connell said. “Evan can decide where and when he wants to get his hair done, but we go with it.”
O’Dwyer said she is appreciative of O’Connell’s action as life can be difficult for families dealing with autism.
“To think someone would go to those lengths to help my son and to make him feel comfortable and safe. I was so delighted as a small task like getting a haircut is huge to most children on the spectrum,” she said.