Entrance at home, flow/security/wardrobe/hallway
Make a ‘preparatory space’ out of the foyer
Install a mirror, a door-phone or a camera
Garden /outside area (demarcation)
In order to
avoid unexpected (unpredictable, experientially unsafe) confrontations with others and/or to provide more processing time
People on the spectrum may experience a threat when strangers ‘unexpectedly’ appear at the front door.
A foyer or vestibule is therefore advisable. It can be used to ease visitors into the house.
Other measures can be taken to prepare for such encounters, for instance with the aid of a mirror, a door-phone or a camera. Such preparation is necessary in order to augment predictability and experienced safety. Apart from general limitations in social interaction and communication, a limited Theory of Mind may also be involved. Extra processing time then serves different purposes, among which is time to interpret the intentions of others. Face recognition troubles can add to the confusion: family friends and acquaintances may be perceived as strangers.
In a family home the above mentioned measures are less necessary for younger children because other family members will mostly let in visitors. Subsequently however they can be unpleasantly surprised by meeting a ‘stranger’ in the home. Once visitors have entered, it is always advisable to introduce the newcomer. If regular visitors seem like strangers, a ‘facebook’ (in the original sense of the word) is advisable – obviously, one can employ a smartphone to this end.
Another tip, especially for older children, is to install a separate door bell with a characteristic sound, so everyone knows it’s the autistic family member who has a visitor.