Hair stylist's kind gesture leaves mom of boy with Autism in tears

Published: Jan. 9, 2017 at 4:49 PM EST
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

Getting a haircut is not always easy for this 4-year-old boy with autism, but his mother is publicly thanking a West Virginia hair stylist, who went out of her way to make the experience much more comfortable for him.

Isaiah McCafferty, 4, was photographed getting his hair cut while sitting in the lap of stylist Kaylen Baker of Sports Clips in Charleston. The photo, which his mom posted to Facebook, is now going viral.

Isaiah has autism, and has never had a positive experience getting his haircut.

"It doesn't seem to matter where we take him," his mom, Jennifer McCafferty, told "He doesn't like the sound of clippers, but he also doesn't tolerate things around his ears."

She then decided to take her son to Sports Clips, a salon that takes walk-in appointments, and called ahead of time to let them know they were coming.

"His behavior is unpredictable," she said. "It doesn't make sense to schedule haircuts, so we try to go somewhere that takes walk-ins."

McCafferty said he was behaving well until it was time to get on the chair and put the cape on.

"He was screaming, he didn't want to get his haircut," McCafferty said.

So, instead of forcing him into the chair, hairdresser Kaylen Barker decided to sit with him on the floor.

"I just wanted to make sure I could make it a little less scary for him," Barker told "Haircuts are already scary for kids, and you add him being on the spectrum, and it makes it that much worse."

For several minutes, Barker chatted with the boy about the movie "Finding Dory," and what he did over Christmas as he lay down and rolled around the floor.

Eventually, Isaiah calmed down and propped himself on Barker's lap, and allowed her to cut his hair.

"Over the years, I've learned with kids you have to come to where they are," Barker said. "I have a son myself, and when he was really little, he didn't like haircuts. I was just trying something new."

Little did she know, the simple gesture would have McCafferty in tears.

"It's important that he gets to experience things every other child does," McCafferty said. She explained while Isaiah's older brother, Alex, 6, has been able to participate in sports, Isaiah has had to abstain because "he just can't handle it."

"Something as simple as a haircut, it can be a nightmare, it's not a comfortable experience," McCafferty continued. "We've been really lucky with [Kaylen]."

The mom even sent the hairstylist a bouquet of flowers, thanking her for her patience.

Watch Inside Edition weekdays at 7:30 p.m. on WVLT Local 8 News.