NewsCovering Florida


South Florida barber forms bond with boy with autism

Posted at 1:05 PM, Apr 14, 2022
and last updated 2022-04-14 13:05:46-04

RIVIERA BEACH, Fla. — For all of the people who help you day to day, to keep going back to your barber, you build a certain level of trust.

That is especially true for one Palm Beach County boy and the man who cuts his hair.

There’s more to it than just a simple haircut.

“It’s about putting smiles on face,” said Terry Francisco at Terry’s Hair Studio in Riviera Beach. “You see the interaction.” Apart from the perfect grooming, Terry values even what his clippers can’t touch.

“That’s what it’s all about, relationships man,” said Francisco.

It’s about the moments of levity and the bonds he makes.

“They become friends,” said Francisco.

Friends who have kept coming for more than two decades. Including one on the younger side.

6-year-old Xavier is WPTV’s Keli Ferguson’s son. A few years ago, he had a tough time sitting in the chair.

“And then everything made sense,” said Ferguson.

Having just been diagnosed with autism at the time, Keli wondered how she could ever get her son comfortable as he deals with anxiety and sensory sensitivities.

“His therapist walked us through Xavier getting his haircut,” said Ferguson. “He’s able to get through the process because he has a good relationship with Terry.”

Now every few weeks, it’s no big deal.

The laughs and bonds Terry shares with his other clients, Xavier gets that too.

“I think for me what’s so special about coming here is the community knows what’s going on and they don’t every make us feel shamed,” said Ferguson.

A quick cut with a reward and proof that a little off on the sides doesn’t have to be short on connection.

“I’m appreciative for their relationship,” said Ferguson.

Terry has at least two other clients that come into his shop who are also on the autism spectrum.