Since being diagnosed with Autism at 2 years old, it’s been difficult for young Wyatt to get his hair cut due to his hypersensitivity to sound and touch. One Canadian barber decided to make a difference by letting this sweet child take the lead for how the haircut goes, and his mother felt inspired to share the experience.
“He doesn’t like his hair to be touched and a lot of sounds are aggressive for him,” Wyatt’s mother Fauve Lafreniere explained. “I was nervous the first time,” she said of when she first went to Franz Jakob’s barbershop two years ago, “But now, I just feel blessed that we have Mr. Jakob in our life, in every way.”
Franz owns a barbershop in the Canadian town of Rouyn-Noranda, and he wrote this in response to the international fame he has received since Wyatt’s mother shared his photo online,
“I opened here because there were no other barbershops, only hair salons, which is something completely different. Wyatt showed up with his mother during the first week I was open. He was my first child who had special needs. I figured out how to work with him by getting down to his level. These moments are very special for me. I’m taking great pride barbering here and my community is amazingly supportive towards my shop. People drive up to 4 hours to get a haircut. We usually start by having a candy together and we walk around the shop looking at everything on the walls. The shop is packed with gifts from clients. We can also put some music on vinyl during the haircut. I’m never typically driving the haircut, I simply follow the lead of the child. It takes me more than an hour to finish with a special needs child. It is worth every minute.”
Franz cuts the hair for many children with disabilities and also for some terminally ill patients, whom he doesn’t charge. He usually schedules them at the end of his day so that he can, “take all the time I need,” he explained.
“It’s an honor for me to do all of this.” Franz said.
“Anyone can make a difference with an open mind and love.” Wyatt’s mother said of the experience.
Photos courtesy of Fauve Lafreniere and Franz Jakob