A HAIRDRESSER is offering a 'unique, stress-free and tailored service' to children who have special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) in Hampshire.

Dawn Woodhouse, 54, is an independent hairstylist and barber who offers a 'unique' mobile SEND hairdressing service providing haircuts to children with sensory issues.

"Patience is the main thing," she told the Gazette, "I have a grandson who has special needs so I know it is different for children with sensory issues to go for a haircut.

"Many can't even get to the barbers, they find it too traumatic."

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Dawn with her equipmentDawn with her equipment (Image: Dawn Woodhouse)

To combat this, and help provide much-needed haircuts to children across Hampshire, Dawn tailors her services to each individual child, first meeting with parents to find out their needs and preferences.

She said: "I gather all the information from parents and get to know what works and what doesn't. I offer quite a unique service, tailored to each child.

"Some have meet and greets beforehand, I bring them sensory toys and gadgets to put them at ease. Some need to wear ear defenders because they don't like the noise of the clippers, some like to be cuddled tightly. Every child is so different and what works for one might not work for another."

Dawn has a range of sensory gadgets at her disposal to help put children at ease, these include fidget toys and special lights and even an aircraft seat to make the children "feel like a pilot".

Having started as a SEND barber in August 2023, Dawn has around 25 clients, with many of them returning having built up relationships with her.

Some of the sensory toysSome of the sensory toys (Image: Dawn Woodhouse)

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She continued: "As they gain trust in me some of the kids eventually started to greet me at the door, and give me a high five.

"It's not an easy job, it's not like I can't wave a magic wand and it all be okay, I just keep trying and remember not to give up.

"It is very rewarding, most of the children now give me a big smile at the end when they feel the back of their head and it's all short."

Dawn is thinking about introducing a reward system, providing a certificate for actions beginning with sitting in the chair for the first time, all the way up to completing a haircut.

"A lot of them struggle with the process of a visit to the barbers, so this will build their confidence step by step."

Dawn has clients across north Hampshire, travelling to Fleet, Blackwater , Yateley, Farnham, Aldershot, Ash and Farnborough to name a few.

She said: "When I visit is to create a calm environment, to build confidence step by step and achieve a comfortable atmosphere and eventually a stress-free haircut."

Readers can find out more about Dawn by visiting: sendvisitingbarber.co.uk and on Facebook by searching Dawnie's Barbering