A Pennsylvania barber is on a mission to help those with autism enjoy their hair cuts!
Inspired by his younger brother on the autism spectrum, Frankel Antoine has a mission called Fading Autism, where he gives clients on the spectrum free haircuts.
“It’s hard to communicate with him or understand what he’s trying to communicate,” Antoine says of his brother Amos, who is non-verbal. “They are very sensitive to light and noise so he can’t be in any social setting. As a parent you have to keep that in mind.”
Before Antoine started out as a barber, Amos would get his haircuts in the kitchen of their home. Antoine states his parents were the ones giving the haircuts, and they did not come out well. But once he got his job at City Cuts Barber Shop in Kutztown, Antoine set aside early Saturday mornings before opening to give haircuts to his clients on the autism spectrum.
“In the morning time you can control things,” states Frankel. “You can control outbursts. I might be playing YouTube music if that’s what they like. You try to reduce the things you can’t control. It’s more calming that way. It’s also relieving for the parent because there’s no one there to judge. It’s the privacy aspect that’s relieving for the parents.”
The mission statement of Fading Autism is to provide convenient, quality and free haircuts for individuals diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder. “I combined my passion with cutting hair and that’s how Fading Autism came about,” Antoine states.
Antoine now helps 27 families.
“My barber shop, they love it,” he said. “They encourage me to pursue this passion of mine. It actually helps our business. It’s just one way we provide community service.”
Antoine’s goal is to inspire other barbers to practice his mission. “Its my way to giving back to my brother and everyone like him.”
To learn more about Fading Autism, check out their website at www.fadingautism.org.
This article is based on a piece by Howard Frank for Pocono Record, and can be found here.
Mike Nickas received his Bachelor of Arts in Film and Multimedia Studies at Florida Atlantic University in December of 2015, and is currently pursuing his second BA at the University of South Florida in psychology with a minor in education. He is the former host of the online news show The Week in Neurodiversity. He also currently works for Dr. Mike Rizzo’s Child Provider Specialists in Weston, FL.