Why Written Instructions Are Best for Me as Someone on the Autism Spectrum

I can’t follow verbal instructions — unless you give me each item one step at a time.

Spoken words are often misheard due to my sensory issues, so it is easy for me to misunderstand verbal directions.

If we are out in public and you tell me I need to remember to do something later, it probably won’t happen. My working memory is not great, and I have to make checklists and keep a calendar to stay organized.

If I am trying to hold information in my brain (by saying the thing over and over again in my head) and someone interrupts me mid-task, the information is lost forever — even if it’s something simple like a first and last name.

Typed or written instructions are best for me; this allows me time to translate the task into my own way of thinking — which is primarily visual.

Also, because I tend to take things very literally, this allows me time to question if my assumptions about the instructions make sense, preventing embarrassing mistakes.

Please don’t tell me what you need me to do — unless you know I’m ready to write things down. I hate letting people down, but I really can’t follow spoken directions.

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