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Bakersfield stylist promoting a safe space for children and teens with sensory-friendly needs

Posted at 6:10 PM, Apr 22, 2024

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KERO) — Getting a haircut is usually a relaxing experience, but for some children on the spectrum, it can actually be very stressful. That’s why a local hairdresser is taking it upon herself to make the experience a little easier.

  • Theresa Ochoa has been cutting hair for 22 years. The last eight or so, though, she’s worked more and more on kids cuts.
  • After joining a kids-only salon in 2016, Ochoa noticed that many of her clients had sensory friendly needs — but the option wasn’t always a focus.
  • That’s why she decided to make herself available, tailoring her haircuts to individuals needs.

Getting a haircut is usually a relaxing experience, but for some children on the spectrum, it can actually be very stressful. That’s why a local hairdresser is taking it upon herself to make the experience a little easier.

Theresa Ochoa has been cutting hair for 22 years. The last eight or so, though, she’s worked more and more on kids cuts.

Bakersfield Neighborhood News Reporter Veronica Morley interviewing Theresa Ochoa, who has been cutting hair for 22 years
Bakersfield Neighborhood News Reporter Veronica Morley interviewing Theresa Ochoa, who has been cutting hair for 22 years

After joining a kids-only salon in 2016, Ochoa noticed that many of her clients had sensory friendly needs — but the option wasn’t always a focus.

“I want to say about every fourth child we did was a child with autism," she said. "Seeing that they’re turned away and having heard many times, oh they moved so they didn’t want to finish the haircut.”

That’s why she decided to make herself available, tailoring her haircuts to individuals needs. From adjusting the surroundings to communicating every step in the appointment.

“It was kind of a step by step, like, 'I’m going to put the paper on now. I’m going to use the trimmer.' They’re going to make some noise, just letting them know it’s soft it tickles," she said.

Ochoa said once she started taking on clients, she noticed the need for special services more. She also noticed that for these families, finding a safe space isn’t always easy.

“And that’s not just in the haircut industry that’s everywhere," she said. "So as I started to get to know my children, I recognize the outside and it’s just a personal goal now to make sure that I am open and available to them."

Now she’s seeing more stylists starting to bring awareness to sensory-friendly salon services, and she hopes that one day these accommodations will be available across the entire industry.

You can fine Ochoa at the barber shop within the Sparkling Image Car Wash on 7901 Rosedale Highway. You can reach out to her over social media.


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