A cut above: Conway stylist helps special needs children

A cut above: Conway stylist helps special needs children

CONWAY, SC (WMBF) – A new spa and salon just opened in August, but it is no ordinary spa.

That's because once a month, the owner of Outerglow Salon and Spa in Conway focuses on haircuts for children with special needs. She didn't have to look far for inspiration.

Danielle Lee's daughter has a rare disorder called AHC, or alternating hemiplegia of childhood. It is a rare neurological disorder that results in paralysis of a portion of the body.

Lee also has a nephew suffering from cerebral palsy.

"People don't realize that unless you have a special needs child, or unless you have a special needs person in your family, like how hard it is to truly get a haircut," Lee said.

Lee said she used to have to get on the floor to give her nephew a haircut, or use a video that would keep him calm.

Jennifer Tallevast can relate. Her son, Elliot, has autism.

"When he was younger … he was kind of all over the salon and jumping up and down," Tallevast said.

That would prompt stares from those out in public, she added.

"They don't understand that they're never better; that's the issue they could be having," Lee said. "It could be sensory issues."

Lee said some haircuts could take more than an hour with a child experiencing sensory issues.

To combat that, special cutters and scissors make things go a lot smoother.

"There's numerous kinds of clippers," Lee said. "So, for people that have sensory issues and vibration, we may have to go down to a different clipper that's quieter (or) the motor speed isn't as high as the other one."

The stylist was inspired to give back after finding out she was in remission from leukemia in 2010. Her initial diagnosis came in 2008.

"May 22, I thought my dreams were shattered," Lee said. "I thought there would never be anything that I would ever want to accomplish"

Lee survived and she did it by helping others.

"It's just so calming to know that I have a place where we can come and not worry about if he (Elliot) doesn't respond appropriately to a question," Tallevast said.

For Lee, she continues to find inspiration with every cut.

"Whenever you give back, you get back," she said.

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