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'Blue rinse' dad dyes hair for autistic sons 26.04.13

by Linda McGrory

DAD Michael Kerrigan doesn't mind being part of the 'blue rinse brigade' – just don’t ask him to go to the bingo.
The Inishowen man has had his hair dyed blue to raise awareness about autism which affects two of his three young sons.
"World Autism Day was on April 2 and blue is the colour for autism so I wanted to do something noticeable to mark it," he said.
"I thought if I have blue hair people will probably ask me why and then I could explain to them all about autism. Loads of people are asking so it’s worked out great," added the full-time carer.
Michael and his wife Fiona, who are in their 40s and from Iskaheen, Muff, are parents to Ronan (9) and Cormac (7) who were diagnosed with autism at a young age. While Ronan's life is dominated by ritual, he is communicative and interactive. Cormac, however, has severe autism. He has no speech, won't eat and is hyper-sensitive to even the slightest noise. His dietician has prescribed eight daily nutritional drinks to nourish him.
Blue-ming marvellous: Michael Kerrigan, who has dyed his hair blue to raise awareness about autism, pictured with son Cormac's gorgeous assistance dog, Gael.
The Kerrigans say their eldest son Cathair (11) who does not have autism, has to live like an only child. He cannot enjoy normal sibling interaction while everything revolves around his brothers' routines.
"Everything has to be organised with military precision and plans often go out the window. There’s a lot of screaming and it's hard on Cathair. He has to sit with headphones on to listen to music or the television." Life for the Kerrigans was "transformed" over two years ago when Cormac received Gael, a beautiful golden retriever assistance dog, from Irish Guide Dogs for the Blind. "She calms Cormac down and calms the whole house down," added part-time office worker Fiona.
Michael had his new ‘do’ sponsored by Image 2 hairdressers in Quigley's Point for the entire month of April. It first had to be bleached before his ‘capri blue’ shade was applied. He will have his head shaved to remove the colour at the end of the month.
Meanwhile, Fiona quipped: "I recently suggested we might go out for an evening and he said 'I'll have to have my roots done first'. I said ‘welcome to my world!’”. For previous story on the Kerrigans, click here .
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