Most teenage boys feel awkward. But when you’re a teen and autistic as well, the challenges can be greater than normal. Such is the case for Evan O’Dwyer, a 16-year-old who nonetheless likes to stay looking sharp.
Evan’s family has wisely trained him through the years that if he ever feels overwhelmed or uncomfortable, he can just retreat to the family van as a kind of “safe space” where strangers cannot bother him and he can collect himself.
So when, in the middle of getting a haircut (even though it was with O’Dwyer’s longtime barber, Donncha O’Connell), Evan felt that uncomfortable feeling, off to the family van he went.
And that’s where most hairdressers might have considered the appointment over, but knowing Evan for so long, O’Connell simply followed him in to finish his barbering.
With shears at hand, O’Connell made sure that dapper O’Dwyer would be as stylin’ as he could possibly be. Evan’s brother helped as well, holding his brother’s hand to calm his anxiety level.
At the end of the day, Evan looked great, and more importantly, felt great, too. What could have been a disaster turned into the best day ever! And all because some people took the time to care and respond to someone with special needs.
It’s a lesson book we could all take a page from.
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