Visual sensitivity is common to individuals on the autism spectrum and extends beyond bright lights and the clearly overloaded visuals of the supermarket to general clutter, bright colours and movement. I am often surprised that many special school classrooms are set up with students facing each other sitting around a central table. It is often done to encourage social interaction. However when you think about it, most neuro-typical people need private space to work. Communal offices are generally set up with cubicles or at least a computer screen for privacy leaving the central table arrangement for the lunch room and meetings.
I find individuals on the autism spectrum are much more focused and calmer when seated facing a blank wall for table top tasks without the clutter and distraction of other objects, the visual intrusion of colours and pictures or the surrounding movement and activity of others in the space. Individuals with autism often have feeding issues and sitting against a wall also helps them relax and concentrate on eating and makes feeding a child much easier.