South Jordan transplant specializes in cutting hair for special needs customersApr 26, 2021 11:10AM ● By Rachel Aubrey
South Jordan hairstylist Kim Deverall welcomes all clients to the Salon at JCPenney at the District. (Rachel Aubrey/City Journals)
By Rachel Aubrey | [email protected]
The love a parent has for a child knows no distance, at least it didn’t for hair stylist Kim Deverall and her husband, Cole, who left their life in St. George for the South Jordan area less than a year ago.
“I didn’t think it was a hard move; South Jordan has been so welcoming,” she said.
The move was largely influenced by her youngest son Kai, 11, who has severe non-verbal autism. Seeing the scarcity of services for her son and her family in coping with and managing her son’s autism, the family came north, where there were more educational, medical and emotional supports.
In her early years, Kim Deverall knew she wanted to pursue a career path that would allow her the flexibility she needed to become a mother and raise a family. Becoming a licensed hair stylist and working for several years before having kids, allowed her to discover her path as a professional.
“I wanted to do something creative, with a positive purpose and help people feel good about themselves,” she said.
She was able to interview and be approved to transfer from the St. George JC Penney Salon to the JC Penney Salon at The District. In the past year, as Kim Deverall has sought to reestablish herself in a new area and gain new clientele, she noticed that she missed working with her fellow special needs families.
She understands how something as simple as a haircut can sometimes be too much for children and adults with special needs. Things such as flickering lights, hair dryers whirring or walking into the salon itself can lead to feelings of anxiety or lack of control for her clients who have a more difficult time processing their new surroundings.
Kim Deverall takes time to meet her special needs clients and consult with them before they receive a haircut. She does this with meetings at a nearby park to plan for the appointment, letting her clients come into the salon earlier than opening to take a tour and get acquainted with the new environment and establishing a reward technique for getting through each step of the appointment. All these things make a big difference to her clients.
“I don’t see it as an inconvenient; it’s my life, it’s second nature,” she said.
Her experience working with special needs clients comes personally, as she understands that her special needs clients and their caretakers need to feel safe and accepted.
“I can make someone feel beautiful, and that’s a great feeling,” she said. “But it’s very different having a mom come in that has a child with special needs and connecting on a different level.”
Kim admits the special needs community surrounding her business and her home in Daybreak feels connected, and her son and her family have been able to receive the support they need.
Fellow South Jordan resident and parent Wendy Braegger, who is mom to daughter Scout, 13 (who has severe non-verbal autism), feels that support. Kim Deverall has been able to work with Braegger and Scout to create a unique and positive experience when Scout comes to the Salon.
“Kim gets it; she understands,” Braegger said. “ She is flexible and adaptable. Kim is someone who wants to serve the community.”
Kim Deverall said it’s a hard life to understand for those who don’t live in it. She is encouraged that more education about autism is becoming available and encourages patience and kindness.
“Everybody has something they are dealing with behind closed doors,” she said.
April is Autism Acceptance Month. You can find more information at www.autism-society.org/get-involved/national-autism-awareness-month/.
The Salon at JC Penney at The District is open Daily from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.