HICKMAN, Ky. (AP) _ Dawn Wiseman says a lot of her customers are going to be surprised to find out she's legally blind. But the handicap hasn't kept the 24-year-old woman from pursuing her dream - working as a barber.

''I just wanted to be a barber. They cut hair, not just do perms and styling,'' she said.

Howard Faughn, barber instructor at West Kentucky State Vocational- Technical School, has nothing but praise for his former student.

''When I found out she was coming into class, I went to an eye doctor and had him set his machine so I could see like she sees. I couldn't see anything,'' he said.

Faughn taught Wiseman to cut hair more by feel than by sight. ''She had real acute feeling in her fingers anyway,'' he said.

But pupil and teacher agreed the class wasn't all smooth sailing. Wiseman said she was tempted at one point to turn in her scissors and go home.

That's when Faughn did a haircut blindfolded. ''She said if I could do it, she could, too,'' he said. And she finished the course and earned a state barber's license.

''A lot of teachers probably wouldn't have taken me or would have given up, but not Howard,'' Wiseman said. ''I wouldn't be doing this if it wasn't for Howard.''

Wiseman has been in business for about two years in her little shop, known as Hilltop Barber Shop, in this far western Kentucky town.

One of her regular customers, Donna Darnall, says she know why people keep coming back for haircuts.

''It's simple. They go to her because she does very, very good work. If she didn't, I wouldn't come back.''

Wiseman cuts hair for both men and women as well as children.

''Children never look at you to find something wrong. All they want is a good haircut,'' Wiseman said.