Challenges arise for families with autism - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Challenges arise for families with autism

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KENNEWICK, Wash. - JC Penney is offering free haircuts throughout the month of August as a back to school promotion. But a 10-year-old Richland boy was denied one, supposedly because he has autism.

The boys mother, Krista Archibald, said she really just wants an apology. She recognized the fact that it's not JC Penney or even the Salon itself as a whole who discriminate against special needs. Her young son is a social young man and actually loves getting his haircut.

But he hadn't been to that particular salon and was covering his ears as a sort of comfort and had let out a shriek of excitement. That caused the stylist to say she wouldn't be cutting his hair.

"She could have worded it differently, saying I'm not comfortable with this," said Archibald. "Let me get my manager or see if someone else can do this... Not just flat out saying I don't cut special needs."

"Being aware that some people don't understand autism, it could be scary for them," said Responding to Autism Center Director Christine Lindgren. "Their perception of autism may be what they see in the movies, what they see in the media isn't always what autism truly is. So to not be too hard on people."

Lindgren said incidents like the one at JC Penney can be chalked up to a lack of awareness.