I’m 21 and still have meltdowns. They can be because I have something stuck in my throat and can’t stop coughing, because I don’t understand what someone is trying to explain to me, or sometimes even simply because I can’t figure out what I want to eat for lunch. I typically flap my hands, make whiny, grunting noises, and can’t really use my words; it resembles something most people would expect out of a toddler, which is quiet embarrassing at times, so I share that feeling with you. For me, my initial strategy is to avoid what causes them, such as always having a water bottle with me. I also find that I struggle to pull myself back from the brink, so to speak, at the end of the day when I am tired. This leads me to avoid working with my tutor at night when I’m more likely to get frustrated and have a meltdown.
My first suggestion is to know what typically causes them, which is seems you have a good handle, and try to limit those stimuli. You could try having ear plugs to help filter noises, I have a pair of custom molded ones that are easy to pop in and out, and I can still hear people I am with but they help to reduce the volume or everything else so I don’t feel as overwhelmed.
I also sympathize with you on the challenge with not knowing what is going on; when I have it in my head that I am going to do something and plans change it throws me off extremely. Try to explain to a close friend about how not knowing what is going on is hard for you to handle, and they can give you a heads up about possible scenarios before you guys go to do something, or they can be someone to ask questions of when you’re feeling overwhelmed, they can help simplify things by being able to answer one thing at a time instead of trying to process everything at once.
Most important for me is the friends and supportive people I have around me, especially when I am at school and away from home. Find people who, maybe not even fully understand, but are caring and patient with you, and are willing to help you out with whatever you need, even if it is just a companion when you’re having a hard time.
Best of luck to you, keep you head up and don’t worry what other people say! Remember, the people that mind don’t matter, and the people that matter don’t mind.