Suggestion #24: Avoid multiple directions from multiple people -- have one main person giving them directions
My sister recently went through a very difficult week. A person very close to her was rushed to the hospital with a serious illness, there was flash flooding in her town and her furnished basement had a foot of water, and then her laptop had a fatal error. After she saw the message on the screen of her laptop, thinking that she had just lost all of her files, she froze. She said she sat there starting at the screen for twenty minutes before she could move, not able to comprehend everything that could have been lost.
One thing many people who have not worked with autistic children don’t realize, is that type of mental overload happens to the child all the time. It might have happened to you at one time, if you think back over your life you may think of a time when so much happened to you in such a small space of time that you just couldn’t process it. You just shut down for a few minutes. Now, imagine going through that shut down and having many different people asking you questions at the same time; would that be helpful? Instead, imagine one person, speaking very clearly in short, simple, clear directions; that would be better, right? It still might be hard for you to really understand what they are saying, but you would have a chance.
Too many people giving directions at once is just going to be confusing to an autistic child. In any situation that they are in during the school day, they should have one particular person that will explain things to the child. Best case, it would be the same person all day. At the very least, the child should be told who they are to communicate their questions to and who will be giving them directions.