Small gestures can sometimes lead to a great impact, especially for the story of Marco Conti. Marco is a barber and his story went viral after he moved his chair outside of his shop for a child with autism.
7-year old Brycen Juby was a client of Conti and has been diagnosed with autism and speech apraxia when he was only 2. He did not speak until he reached the age of 5. Ashley Juby, his mother, made an interview at Yahoo Lifestyle about the difficulties Brycen was experiencing with haircuts. He had many screaming meltdowns at barbershops and after his dad, Joe, started to cut his hair. However, he “would still meltdown every time.”
After Brycen started to tolerate the haircuts at home, his parents took him to a barbershop again. The barbershop the contacted was Conti’s Marky Fresh Barbershop located in Mentor, Ohio. They asked Conti if he could schedule Brycen for a haircut after-hours. Conti was the co-owner of the shop and he was pleased to help. He even went a step further when he figured out that the boy was still emotional about the whole experience.
After Conti noticed that the young boy was calm outside of the shop, he asked Brycen if he was fine if he cut his hair outside to which Brycen agreed. Conti moved a chair on the sidewalk outside his shop and he got started. The entire moment was captured in a photo that Marky Fresh shared on their page on Facebook with the link of the Fox 8 Cleveland article of the efforts that the barbershop put out to aid Brycen and get him to feel more comfortable for taking his haircut.
❤️ Thank you for all the kind words we’ve received and thank you for sharing our message. https://fox8.com/2019/10/14/mentor-barber-accommodates-request-for-7-year-old-boy-with-autism/
Conti told Yahoo that “I feel that it is our duty to open our hearts and to accommodate everyone as best as we can with whatever resources we have available with action over the intention. I just wanted him to feel loved and comfortable and safe and that there was nothing to fear.”
Ashley also added that “There are kind, patient, understanding people out there. Marco was ready for however the situation would turn out.”
People with autism can have problems with getting haircuts because of the sensory issues and/or anxiety that could happen from what will happen during the process.
The result of Brycen’s outdoor haircut was captured in a special photoshoot done at his public school for his first picture day. His mother said that “This is a new start for Brycen, being at the public school. He has worked so hard to be in a bigger school and was so ready.”
Conti hopes that this experience with Brycen can help other parents of kids with autism and give them hope. He said “This has opened doors for those parents that were silent and those that just didn’t know that we are more than willing to help.”