Much like you, I'm a high functioning autistic person who mostly can "pass" as neurotypical. I've never had any meltdowns to the degree that you have, but I have spent a lot of time dealing with the social fallout from theother side effects of autism that I do experience. I have found 2 things to be particularly helpful when dealing with this fallout.
- Explaining how autism affects me
- Having andan advocate on my side
Another really great solution to help with the social fallout is to have another person who can advocate for you. I had this happen quite by accident a few years ago, but it turned out really well.Ever since I have a lot ofposted the blog about my sensory issues related to food. This has caused me some hassle throughout my life andwith eating, I've had severalbeen more proactive about telling people expressabout my issues "in the desiremoment" that I'm experiencing them. They end up being more receptive to avoid eating with methe information because ofthey get it. I had a coworker at a few years ago who tooktime when it upon herselfis useful for them to educate some othershave it (i.e. when there is an action they can take or not take in order to help you). With your meltdowns you've pointed out that you are unable to communicate about my sensoryyour meltdowns in the moment, which is where having an advocate comes in.
Find a friend or two who you are frequently around and that you can trust to be your advocate. Explain the issues on my behalfyou have to them and ask that if they see you having a meltdown they help explain to the others around that you what is happening. This helpedwill give the others be more accepting of my different behaviorin the situation access to the information that they need in order to properly handle the situation.
In addition to the benefits of just getting the information out in a timely fashion, having an advocate makes others more likely to accept that your behaviors are genuine and not "playing the victim". The reason for this is the psychological phenomenon of social proof, which is
You can take advantage of this phenomenon by having someone who can advocate for you. FindThis study, and a friend or two who youothers since have shown that the judgments that people make are frequentlyinfluenced by the judgments of the group around them. Specifically, their judgments will be pulled towards whatever the collective judgment of the group is. By having your friends present the view that your meltdowns are 1) not a show and 2) socially acceptable, you will increase the likelihood that the others in the group will accept your meltdowns as an acceptable way for you can trust to becope with stimuli beyond your advocate. Explaincontrol, thus decreasing the issues youpotential for social fallout.
I had this happen quite by accident a few years ago, but it turned out really well. I have a lot of sensory issues related to themfood. This has caused me some hassle throughout my life and ask that if they see you havingI've had several people express the desire to avoid eating with me because of it. I had a meltdown they help explaincoworker a few years ago who took it upon herself to theeducate some others around that you what is happeningabout my sensory issues on my behalf. If they display acceptance and accommodation of your situationWhen she did this, then social proof will lead the others to be more likelycoworkers who had previously been averse to follow suitgetting lunch with me quickly became less so, which will lower the negative falloutimproved my relationships with them.