A Phoenix mother is hoping her story will help raise awareness after her son was forced to the back of a hair salon to finish getting his haircut.
Leslie Hake said she is used to the stares and remarks when it comes to her 5-year-old son, Jaxson, who was diagnosed with autism one year ago.
“I’ve been told he needs a nap [and] he’s a brat,” Hake said.
But Hake is not happy with how her son was treated at Mane Attraction.
"It’s the first time we have been treated that way,” Hake said.
Hake said she made the appointment last Saturday.
"When I made the appointment, I told them he is autistic and he will cry.”
She said she reminded them again when she walked in with her crying son. But soon after getting seating, Hake says, the owner approached her.
"We asked if we could finish the haircut and move the haircut to the back of the salon," Mane Attraction owner Kendall Ong said.
And by back of the salon, he meant outside in the alley.
"I felt like a piece of trash, like garbage. We were by the dumpsters, the smoking break area. It was like, that's what we were,” Hake said.
Ong told ABC15 that he had no idea, at the time of the haircut, that the child has autism.
“We are trying to create a relaxing atmosphere for all of our clients. We wanted to do something for him that would be a little less stressful. And not be around so much activity,” Ong said. “And now that I know he has autism, I'm not sure that I would do anything different."
And it is that response that Hake is hoping to change.
“What's important is for businesses and clients to know we can't just keep them in the house. It is important for them to get out and learn how to cope with the sensory issue,” Hake said.