My son Shepard was born in December of 2003. I had planned on going back to work and being a “working mom” like many of my friends.
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Unfortunately, Shep suffered a birth injury and was diagnosed with cerebral palsy. I knew my plans were changing and even though I wasn’t going back to work in the traditional sense, I was fortunate enough to able to stay home and focus my energies on raising a child with special needs.
Nearly six years later, Shep is doing wonderfully, and he now has a younger brother and sister – David and Lane, twins who just turned two in September. As you can imagine, life is busy between Shep’s various therapies along with all of the joys and tribulations of raising three children.
Mike and I have shared many highs and lows with Shep, and we are extremely proud of the progress he has made. But one challenge is that special needs children have difficulty processing sensory data. Loud noises or lots of background chatter can upset them and they have a hard time letting anyone touch them – especially on the head.
So when Shep was younger, he had a very difficult time getting his haircut. He did not like his ears touched and he would literally scream at the top of his lungs. Then we found a stylist who was great with him (and with me for that matter!). She could calm him and somehow managed to give him great haircuts at the same time!
That incident was part of my inspiration in going back to work -- to open the newest location of Pigtails and Crewcuts, a wonderful children’s salon that truly caters to the needs of children and their parents.
Children can sit in an airplane, taxi or firetruck and get their hair cut while watching Dora, Diego, Elmo or a Pixar movie. The salon has a friendly, upbeat feel without having some of the over-the-top characteristics of some kid-based places.
My husband Mike and I felt like it was a perfect fit for the Blakeney area. We've even hired that stylist who was so great with Shep! And our kids are excited about what they call the “new haircut store” and want to go sit in the airplane with a lollipop daily.
This is a salon where kids can be kids – if they have sensory processing difficulty, that’s OK. Our stylists are very understanding and patient. They’re also skilled at calming the parents who are stressed if their children are loud.
As part of our grand opening (through the end of November), we are donating $1 from the sale of every haircut to a place that is very special for us – the Easter Seals United Cerebral Palsy Children’s Development Center, located on Marsh Road in Charlotte.
Shep was at this school for three years and it’s truly a wonderful place where they focus on inclusive education. Kids with special needs are in the same classrooms with “typical” children, so children with special needs can see how the “typical” children are developing and work toward the same progress.
Shep first stood and used a walker at the children’s center, took some of his first steps there, and made great friends. We can’t say enough about the staff at the children’s center and we’re proud to be able to partner with them and give money directly to them, so they can purchase the special equipment these children need.
Blakeney Pigtails and Crewcuts is located in the Blakeney Crossing Shopping Center, 9935 Rea Road. It's open Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., and Saturdays from 9 a.m to 4 p.m. Walk-ins only.No appointments necessary.
For more information, including specials, directions and promotions, please contact Hailey Arthur at 704.541.3FUN(3386), follow her on Twitter @Blakeneypigtail or visit