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What Edgar Scissorhands Means for El Paso Children with Autism


Edgar “Scissorhands” Guerrero had been cutting hair for about a decade when his cousin asked him to cut her son’s hair. The boy’s autism made haircuts a difficult experience — children with autism often are distressed by the noise or have trouble sitting still.

So Edgar became an expert in “sensory-friendly” haircuts, using a range of devices and strategies to get kids’ attention and help them get through the experience.

“I work around them, instead of them working around me,” Edgar said. “By the time they’re done with their haircut, they don’t want to leave.”

Amerigroup teamed up with Edgar and the Autism Society of El Paso last month to provide sensory-friendly haircuts at the Self-Care Fiesta — a day-long event dedicated to providing the necessary support and resources for children and families navigating these kinds of hurdles.

“Going into the experience, the children didn’t know what to expect, but Edgar went above and beyond to gain their trust – bringing bubbles, handing out candy, and playing soothing sounds so that they felt comfortable. It was a very caring process.”

Alejandra Martinez, Amerigroup Social worker

All told, the collaboration meant that more than two dozen El Paso children with autism and sensory issues received haircuts — allowing families to get the care and services they need without overloading or overburdening their children.

“We want our families to know that there’s someone there to support them at all times,” said Molly Saenz of the Autism Society told ABC-7. “There’s people behind them to cheer them on.”

Such collaborations demonstrate Amerigroup’s commitment to supporting families and individuals who face unique challenges — in and out of traditional heathcare settings.

Along with haircuts, the Fiesta included activities such as breathing exercises and back-to-school giveaways, helping children confidently prepare for the upcoming school year.

These kinds of events and collaborations demonstrate what drives Amerigroup: we seek out innovative ways to redefine health — and reimagine healthcare — by meeting Texans where they are, making families healthier, and strengthening communities.

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