Make Your Salon a Disability Friendly Business
UK Disability History Month runs from 18 November to 18 December and here at HJ we’ll be serving up content that highlights the experiences of disabled hairdressers and clients over the next four weeks.
Here, Nicki Rodriguez-Holmes, vice chair of Spargoland, a charity working to set up the world’s first specialised salon for disabled people, offers her tips for making your salon a disability-friendly one.
In the UK, 13% of the national population have some form of disability and it’s becoming increasingly important for businesses to be more aware and accessible to clients with physical and mental disabilities. Are you offering the below? And if not, why not? It’s time to make a change.
Access all areas
Take into consideration wheelchair access and wide doors. Have a ramp if you have steps up to the salon.
Be aware at the backwash
The backwash area can be can be challenging, but simple things such as extra padding on chairs can make a big difference so that the client can feel comfortable, safe and secure. Keeping some extra cushions handy in the salon can be enough!
Try and keep noise to a minimum
Noise can be a huge issue for clients with sensory issues (autism particularly). The noise of hairdryers, music, phones ringing and talking is heightened and can cause stress. Something simple such as the use of quieter equipment can make a huge difference. Ego Professional specialise in super quiet hairdryers and autism-friendly CDs are also available.
Keep clients engaged
For children with learning difficulties, having something on hand for stimulation (and distraction) will make the appointment go more smoothly. They need to be kept stimulated and engaged. Having some ‘fidget’ stress-relief gadgets handy in the salon can be enough to take the edge of the stress.
Communication is key
Non-verbal adults often find it difficult to have people talking to them and would rather a hairdresser didn’t speak at all or ask direct questions. Knowing this, or having a line of communication with a carer, will be important.