One-handed hair styling

It seems like it was forever ago… I was sitting in a gym with Jordan at Camp No Limits when she was three-years-old watching our friend Lizzie show off how she can put her hair into a pony tail with one hand and her little arm. I watched in awe, shot video and thought how this amazing task could not be accomplished by my daughter because her arm is so much shorter.

I was very wrong.

The one thing I have learned as the mom of a limb different kid is to shake off every assumption I made when she was a baby because she’s going to prove me wrong every time.

one-handed-pony-tailpont-tail-result-one-handSo fast forward to this past week when Jordan came downstairs to show off a new skill: Putting her hair into a pony tail. It’s something she has tried and tried but hasn’t had much luck. But while I was out of town on my running adventure, she mastered her skill. How? Those really stretchy cloth hair bands that have a knot at one end. It’s just enough stretch to make it work.

Jordan does it by pushing her hair back with the help of a headband, then pulls all her hair into the band. She stretches the band out with her little arm. Jordan can use her hand to wrap it around her hair a few more times. It ends up being tight enough to keep her hair up. She’s able to put her pony tail to the back or the side. Jordan’s favorite is the side pony. This is a really big deal for Jordan. When I grew up, doing my hair wasn’t a big deal, but for Jordan, this is epic. She loves doing my hair and anyone else who is willing to let her style a braid or a pony tail. But doing one for herself has been a challenge.

Next up? A braid. It’s something Jordan has been motivated to try ever since we saw Shriners Ambassador, Madelyn Hubbs, show how she braids her hair on YouTube:

Pretty cool, right?

Well, the braid inspiration just gets better. That’s because while Jordan was figuring out pony tails, I got to watch a very cool braiding lesson in person. In my last post, I mentioned how I got to meet Faith Dority, the runDisney Disney Parks Moms Panelist. She was born with one hand and has a younger friend who is also named Faith (whose mom has lovingly dubbed “Little Faith”) and she lives near Disneyland. Little Faith and her family have met with runDisney Faith every year since 2012. I was invited to hang out with them this time around… Which was awesome. Little Faith is an awesome surfer and you can sometimes check out some of her awesome activities on her Instagram page. Well, the Faiths worked on hair braiding while we ate ice cream and talked in Downtown Disneyland. It was so great. The only thing that would have been better was if Jordan was there to meet Little Faith and learn to braid her hair from Faith.


I’m excited for Jordan to figure out braiding and I know she has many mentors ready to step in and help if she needs it. And not long from now, Jordan will be able to show other kids how she does it. It’s the circle of our community. Each person may need to figure things out on his or her own, but there’s support online or in person when and if you really need it. Even better… If you think your child can’t, just assume he or she can. Just step back and watch. You’ll be amazed.


  1. Laura Winter on January 26, 2015 at 5:55 am

    Aw, so amazed by this piece of news Jen!
    I am so and so proud for Jordan! She is incredible! And you are so lucky to has this awesome daughter!
    I am looking forward to watch a video of Jordan doing her side ponytail, it would be awesome!
    Kisses to Jordan, you and all BornJustRight community <3
    P.S: By the way, you can let know Jordan that side ponytail is also my favourite one. 🙂

  2. Sarah Johnson on January 26, 2015 at 8:55 am

    growing up I used a pillow to help me put my hair up. I would lay down with my head on the pillow, put all of my hair up on the pillow. This helped me group the hair easier with one hand. Now days I don’t even use my shorter arm to put it in a ponytail. I use my shoulder to hold onto the hair when I need to tie the band.

    • Jen Lee Reeves on January 26, 2015 at 10:14 am

      That’s so cool. I love the pillow idea for starters!

  3. Anna on January 26, 2015 at 5:27 pm

    Cool! I still can’t French braid my hair.

  4. Christine on January 26, 2015 at 7:27 pm

    I figured out how to French Braid my own hair on a road trip when I was about 12 or so. I had lots of time and nothing to do, so I just kept going until I got it. I know my method probably won’t help Jordan, but where there’s a will, there’s often a way.

  5. Sara Uhrig on May 27, 2015 at 12:49 pm is a therapist invented learning module and kit that helps families
    teach single arm ponytail making. This method can be done without awkward positioning or the need for walls, couches, etc. so it can be done anywhere and anytime! Independence is what it is all about!! Kit comes with practice ponytail, six One-Handed ponytail devices and
    full professional media you can try at home or take to an occupational therapist. Replacements can be made at home and require no further purchase. Please see Facebook and website for for lots more information. Please share as not in catalogs yet.
    Thank you, Sara

  6. […] 2. Self-care I knew Jordan would figure out zippers, snaps, buttons and shoe tying, but she has mentors who helped guide her. Now, she is able to help teach other kids (and adults) at camp how she gets it done. I remember many years ago when I watched a camper explain how she pulled her hair into a pony tail and I couldn’t imagine Jordan doing the same thing… And as with everything, Jordan proved me wrong. She’s the pony tail and braiding queen. […]

  7. Rachel on July 12, 2016 at 4:21 pm

    Hi, I have had a left arm and shoulder amputation recently, along with clapping for my children, I really miss being able to braid my daughters hair…… any ideas?

    • Jen Lee Reeves on July 13, 2016 at 11:30 am

      This may sound strange, but have you tried using a foot and a hand? Most braiding is about keeping the hair sectioned off. I wouldn’t be surprised if you could have your daughter sit on the floor and you work on her hair from a chair. I think it’s worth the experiment!

  8. Narelle may collard on January 30, 2022 at 5:53 pm

    im in ore of your abilities and strength, ive shared this video ihope you dont mind, your daughter is amazing and although i dont know her im so proud of her courage to inspire
    im 44 i had a brain haemorrhage at 36 as a single mum leaving me with o use of m y left hand/arm, learnt to walk again etc, your daughter in my eyes is a true hero please give her my love from australia

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