Environmental considerations and adjustments

Every autistic person is unique. It is a legal requirement to make reasonable adjustments to remove barriers or provide something additional. Gain an understanding of how their autism affects them and any sensory differences, so that reasonable adjustments can be made and you can understand how best to support them.

Sensory factors to consider and suggestions:



  • Cushions to sit on
  • Blanket for comfort
  • Fidgets to borrow – magnets, pin art, Rubik’s cube, stress ball, small weights, fabric, tangles, doodling. Clean between each use.
  • Temperature / air quality



  • Signposts, instructions, labels
  • Reduce fluorescent lighting
  • Increase natural light
  • Use blinds if sun glaring 
  • Use lamps and low lighting
  • Use colours to distinguish areas
  • Sunflower lanyard to show understanding of autism
  • A green plant
  • Avoid pattern and bright colour 
  • Use sunglasses
  • Tidy magazines, leaflets
  • Clear noticeboards



  • Quiet environment free from distraction
  • Close doors and windows when necessary
  • Radio – announcements and adverts best avoided
  • Availability of ear defenders and music
  • Soften acoustics e.g. rugs, thick carpets
  • Small, low stimulus space available – separate to therapy room
  • Clinic room immediately accessible close to entrance door



  • A clean clinic, reduce unwanted smells – could windows be opened 
  • Smells are very person specific and can trigger memories and emotions therefore best not to add smells 


Proprioceptive / Vestibular

  • Flexible seating, not face to face or rows
  • A 3rd chair for family / another person
  • Is the environment free of unnecessary obstructions, furniture to sides of room, central space clear



  • Availability of drinking water and bringing snacks


Other helpful considerations:

  • Be aware of the person’s hospital passport giving information on health needs, preferred communication and other preferences. Ask if they have one.
  • Have the appointment at the same time on same day
  • Work to the autistic person’s strengths, find out what works for them
  • Book a longer or shorter appointment
  • Provide a clear structure to the sessions, plan what is going to happen at the next session
  • Verbal prompts – check understanding, use the person’s preferred name
  • Don’t use jargon
  • Don’t use too many words per sentence
  • Use pauses and breaks; don’t repeatedly change the topic
  • Accessible visual information given after the session to remind them of the content.
  • Compassion, understanding, offer support
  • Listen to parents and carers



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