A salon owner in Romford has been praised for the "safe space" she has created for children with additional needs.

Lee Seaton, of Jungle Hair and Beauty in Romford Shopping Hall, told the Recorder that while her salon caters to everyone, she closes while cutting the hair of children with additional needs and disabilities.

She explained that she draws the curtains down in her new unit in the mall during an appointment with the kids, creating “a safe space” while they get their hair cut.

She added: “Sometimes people walk past in the mall and if they don't understand additional needs, they might just see it as a child that is being naughty. But they are not actually being naughty.

Romford Recorder: The salon interior in the shopping hallThe salon interior in the shopping hall (Image: Lee Seaton)“So, parents can feel like they are being watched and judged and I try to provide them a safe space.”

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With toys and games at hand, Lee said she gives the children something to distract while she works on their hair and has plans to install water trays as she believes it could have a calming effect on the children.

Having a 13-year-old daughter who is currently in the process of being diagnosed with additional needs herself, and being around some of her nieces and nephews who are also similarly diagnosed, Lee added that she understands the struggles that children can go through.

She added: “They just need a bit of time, patience and someone who understands them.”

Nicola Keogh, from Romford, is a regular client. She said her son with special needs previously had a few “disastrous” attempts at getting his hair cut with salons wanting to rush through the process.

Recalling her first experience at Lee’s salon, she added: “When we went my son refused to put a cape on, refused to sit in the chair but Lee was very patient.

“She told me we will go at his pace, and we have been going back there ever since. She was very understanding and just kind of worked to his level of what he was accepting.”