A BARBER in Haverfordwest will be giving autism friendly haircuts to children with the condition to support a national day of awareness.

Freestyle Barbers, Portfield will be taking part in the National Autistic Society’s Autism Hour throughout the first week of October, a campaign which businesses across the UK have signed up to.

Andrew Edwards, 31, who runs the shop says an autism friendly haircut is about making sure a child feels comfortable by not overloading their senses with strange noises or experiences.

The barbers will be taking simple steps to make sure children feel comfortable in the shop, like dimming the lights, and turning off the radio.

“It is a build-up process: first you let them come sit in the shop, then in the chair.

“I show them the scissors and the clippers and the noises they make, and see what they like and don’t like,” he said.

Andrew started giving autism friendly haircuts in the shop on Mondays after speaking to staff at Portfield School, who have also signed up to the Autism Hour campaign.

Mrs Caroline Ball, deputy head at the school, said: “A growing percentage of our population are young people with autism and they could be anywhere on the spectrum.

“Some people with autism are able to make choices about their own lives, to get a job, start a family – but others have issues that cause some difficulties in their life.”

Mrs Ball added that all schools in Pembrokeshire are now preparing to train staff to understand how autism might affect the lives of their pupils.

According to the National Autistic Society more than 700,000 people live with autism in the UK.

To find out more about NAS’s Autism Hour visit: autism.org.uk