A mom took this viral photo of her son with autism and the barber who went the extra mile.

A lot of kids hate getting their hair cut. If the boredom doesn't cause them to wriggle out of their seats, then the clippers are too loud, or they just don't like the way it feels.

For children on the autism spectrum — about 1 in every 45 kids — those problems are greatly intensified.

6-year-old Wyatt from Quebec, for example, deals with both hyper- and hyposensitivity. Having his hair touched coupled with the noise from the hair cutting equipment causes him major anxiety.


Wyatt's challenges have been a struggle even for experienced stylists to manage in the past, as his mom, Fauve Lafrenière, told WDRB.

Everything changed when Wyatt's mom found a barber willing to go the extra mile for her son.

And now that barber is an internet hero.

Jacob with a young client in his shop. Photo via Franz Jacob, used with permission.

Franz Jacob at Authentischen Barbier in Quebec has been cutting Wyatt's hair for two years now and has learned a lot about how to make the process as comfortable for his young client as possible.

Jacob locks the front door of the salon to keep people from walking in during the cut. He also keeps the shop as quiet as possible and is willing to keep at it for however long it takes to finish — sometimes hours.

Recently, a photo of Jacob lying on the floor next to Wyatt while finishing a trim went viral, stealing the hearts of millions across the web.

By the way, t'a tu ça toi un barbier qui ce donne à ce point là? Mon fils oui. THE BEST! Franz Jakob

Posted by Fauve Lafreniere on Sunday, September 24, 2017

Kerry Magro, an autism advocate, gives out a few tips to barbers who want to accommodate kids with autism.

Things like: offer up a "game plan" of exactly what's going to happen and use a treat or prize at the end as a reward. (Calming Clippers also created a directory that can be a good starting point to find autism-friendly barbers in your area.)

But Jacob says he never had any specialized training or even much experience in dealing with kids who have autism. "I just figured it out," by watching Wyatt closely, he says in a message.

Not many people would be willing to lay on the floor to finish a few-dollar haircut. But a little bit of extra caring goes a long way.

Little gestures like Jacob's can make the world a lot more welcoming for people of all ages with autism.

But it's not just barber shops and salons. Some typically loud, chaotic Chuck E. Cheese locations are now offering Sensory Sensitive Sundays, hours or designated hours where the music and lights come down for a calmer experience to help reduce sensory overload. Kid-mecca Toys R Us stores in the U.K. have incorporated a similar experience, with plans of it being implemented in the U.S. soon. Some movie theaters use the approach (sound low, lights slightly up) to accommodate not only young kids, but teens and adults too.

As for Jacob, he says now that word is spreading, other parents are bringing in kids like Wyatt to his shop for haircuts, driving hours just to do so, and he's even started giving trims to late-stage cancer patients. "I take great pride in doing all this for my community," he says.

It's awesome to see retailers big and small embracing what makes some of their customers unique and stepping up to the plate to accommodate those differences.

Photo by Anna Shvets from Pexels
True

Increasingly customers are looking for more conscious shopping options. According to a Nielsen survey in 2018, nearly half (48%) of U.S. consumers say they would definitely or probably change their consumption habits to reduce their impact on the environment.

But while many consumers are interested in spending their money on products that are more sustainable, few actually follow through. An article in the 2019 issue of Harvard Business Review revealed that 65% of consumers said they want to buy purpose-driven brands that advocate sustainability, but only about 26% actually do so. It's unclear where this intention gap comes from, but thankfully it's getting more convenient to shop sustainably from many of the retailers you already support.

Amazon recently introduced Climate Pledge Friendly, "a new program to help make it easy for customers to discover and shop for more sustainable products." When you're browsing Amazon, a Climate Pledge Friendly label will appear on more than 45,000 products to signify they have one or more different sustainability certifications which "help preserve the natural world, reducing the carbon footprint of shipments to customers," according to the online retailer.

Amazon

In order to distinguish more sustainable products, the program partnered with a wide range of external certifications, including governmental agencies, non-profits, and independent laboratories, all of which have a focus on preserving the natural world.

Keep Reading Show less
Wikiimages by Pixabay, Dr. Jacqueline Antonovich/Twitter

The 1776 Report isn't just bad, it's historically bad, in every way possible.

When journalist Nikole Hannah-Jones published her Pulitzer Prize-winning 1619 Project for The New York Times, some backlash was inevitable. Instead of telling the story of America's creation through the eyes of the colonial architects of our system of government, Hannah-Jones retold it through the eyes of the enslaved Africans who were forced to help build the nation without reaping the benefits of democracy. Though a couple of historical inaccuracies have had to be clarified and corrected, the 1619 Project is groundbreaking, in that it helps give voice to a history that has long been overlooked and underrepresented in our education system.

The 1776 Report, in turn, is a blaring call to return to the whitewashed curriculums that silence that voice.

In September of last year, President Trump blasted the 1619 Project, which he called "toxic propaganda" and "ideological poison" that "will destroy our country." He subsequently created a commission to tell the story of America's founding the way he wanted it told—in the form of a "patriotic education" with all of the dog whistles that that phrase entails.

Mission accomplished, sort of.

Keep Reading Show less
True

If the past year has taught us nothing else, it's that sending love out into the world through selfless acts of kindness can have a positive ripple effect on people and communities. People all over the United States seemed to have gotten the message — 71% of those surveyed by the World Giving Index helped a stranger in need in 2020. A nonprofit survey found 90% helped others by running errands, calling, texting and sending care packages. Many people needed a boost last year in one way or another and obliging good neighbors heeded the call over and over again — and continue to make a positive impact through their actions in this new year.

Upworthy and P&G Good Everyday wanted to help keep kindness going strong, so they partnered up to create the Lead with Love Fund. The fund awards do-gooders in communities around the country with grants to help them continue on with their unique missions. Hundreds of nominations came pouring in and five winners were selected based on three criteria: the impact of action, uniqueness, and "Upworthy-ness" of their story.

Here's a look at the five winners:

Edith Ornelas, co-creator of Mariposas Collective in Memphis, Tenn.

Edith Ornelas has a deep-rooted connection to the asylum-seeking immigrant families she brings food and supplies to families in Memphis, Tenn. She was born in Jalisco, Mexico, and immigrated to the United States when she was 7 years old with her parents and sister. Edith grew up in Chicago, then moved to Memphis in 2016, where she quickly realized how few community programs existed for immigrants. Two years later, she helped create Mariposas Collective, which initially aimed to help families who had just been released from detention centers and were seeking asylum. The collective started out small but has since grown to approximately 400 volunteers.