Natural Hair for Kids with Special Needs: The Story of My Sister Keagan (Pt. 1)

 

That’s my sister Keagan.  Like many 11 year olds, she rides the bus to her 5th grade class room every day, loves to read, and enjoys playing on the computer.  She also has a killer jumpshot.

But unlike many 11 year olds, when Keagan was born, the doctors told our family that Keagan would most likely never walk or ever talk.  You see, Keagan was born with with microcephaly,  schizencephaly,  cerebral palsy, seizure disorder, and visual impairment.  That’s a whole lot of big words to describe a little girl who just came into the world.  I was 15 when Keagan was born, but by the time I was 17 – when Keagan was 2 – she was walking and using sign language to communicate.  When our sister Skya –  who was born a couple years after Kea – started to talk Keagan started to say her first words along with her.

To this day Keagan has continued to go above and beyond all previously established medical predictions of her physical and mental capacities.  While her developmental delays still play significant roles in her day-to-day activities, she’s extremely intelligent; you’ll never meet a more inquisitive, talkative, active gal!  I am not shy to admit that she beat me playing P.I.G. on the basketball court a couple weeks ago.  So, suffice it to say that my family and I are extremely proud of her and how far she has come along.

 

 

Keagan on the court! For most activities, Keag relies on her right hand. Her left hand, which we call her "Pretty Hand", is more difficult for her to use.

But we’re here to talk about hair natural hair.

For a kid who is in and out of doctors offices, frequent procedures, and has had several surgeries, the added task of maintaining a head of hair is extremely difficult to say the least.  In Keagan’s case, she would never let anyone touch her hair nor did she have the attention span to sit and have her hair done.  Keagan’s doctors recommended, like they do for so many kids with special needs, that her personal maintenance be done while she was under anesthesia for her various procedures.  And it so it was that five years ago my mom and Nana went into Keagan’s post-op room to 2-strand twist her hair.  They were so cute, we all agreed.  And over time, Keagan’s twists morphed into locs.

For Keagan, not having natural hair was never an option.  Locs were a great choice for her (as well as for our sister Skya) because maintenance was simple and minimal.  But now, Keagan’s in need of a change.  Her locs have grown too long, too unwieldy,  and they are uncomfortably hot in the humid summer.  She also has this habit of untwisting her locs at the roots to put herself to sleep and now has a patch of loose, broken hair at the front of her head.  Stay tuned as we join and support Keagan on the next step of her natural hair journey!

 

Me, Skya, Mom, and Keagan - May 2011

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18 Comments

  1. I truly enjoyed reading this post, and can’t wait for Part 2. Inspiring and informative–what a beautiful family. Thanks for sharing.

  2. Gorgeous family! Her locs are fabulous. I look forward to hearing the next part of the story.

  3. thanks for sharing a part of your family with us, looking forward to Keagan’s natural hair journey;)

  4. Truly inspiring. Thank you for sharing this with us.

  5. WOW. what an insightful blog. This addresses a issue that needs some attention. I am going to forward this article to all the agencies who have minority clients. thank you,thank you GOD BLESS YOU.

  6. Bevy of beauties!!

  7. Aww Cassidy:) Tear! Thanks for sharing such a personal part of your life with your subscribers:) I am a middle school sped ed/esol teacher/cosmetologist so this post touched me on numerous levels. Does Keagan mind if her hair is styled now? I think a shorter wash and go with the ability to put it in a puff, twists and/or twist out would be great. It would be something that could be styled in twists in less than 30 to 45 minutes, but the puff and wash and go of course would be quick. I can’t wait to see what you guys have in store for us:) I had a student with trichotillomania who was constantly picked on by students who were not in his classes. It was so refreshing at the end of the year to see those behaviors replaced with something less noticeable to other students. God is awesome! No doctor’s predictions ever match HIS unwavering love for all of his children:) I could preach and testify to the wonders of HIS love!

  8. Your sisters are adorable!

  9. Thank you so much for sharing this wonderful article. I think it is a great idea for children with special needs to have hair styles that require less time. Thanks

  10. You have a beautiful family!! Thank you for sharing!

  11. Your family is beautiful! Looking forward to Part 2.

  12. Thank you for sharing your sister’s story with us. She’s truly awesome.

  13. You have two beautiful little sisters. This brought a smile to my face. Can’t wait for part two.
    BTW…I love the So Fine series, it’s really helped me alot!

  14. i love this post and love how open you are about your family. i cannot wait for part 2 :)

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