PHOENIX — A Phoenix mom is advocating for the acceptance of children with autism after she claimed her son was forced to be given a haircut in an alleyway after having an outburst.
Leslie Hake said in an interview with KTAR News’ Mac & Gaydos that she took her 5-year-old son to get a haircut at Mane Attraction after previously having a pleasant experience with a hairdresser there.
Hake said her and her family moved to Phoenix about a month ago and decided to visit the salon for a haircut herself.
She said she told her hairdresser, who was not identified, about her son, who had been diagnosed a year earlier on the autism spectrum, and the hairdresser encouraged her to bring him in for a haircut.
After the appointment, Hake called into the salon to schedule her son’s appointment, saying that he is autistic and tends to cry.
While Hake said the hairdresser was “wonderful” with her son during his outburst, she said the owner of Mane Attraction, who she did not identify, allegedly came to the chair and said he was “disturbing other clients” and asked them to go out back.
Hake said the owner opened a door to a back alleyway, where her son allegedly got his haircut next to a dumpster.
The hairdresser apologized, Hake said, and finished the transaction for her while the pair waited outside.
“I was really hurt, I was disgusted,” she said.
When Hake spoke about the incident with her husband, she said he encouraged her to speak out about it.
She said that while the incident could have been caused by a customer complaint at the salon, businesses and society in general needs to be more open-minded to children on the autism spectrum.
“My son has sensory issues and is non-verbal,” she said. “He hears and sees things differently. It’s a scary experience (for him).”