I have an autistic character who's also a bit of a foodie, and tends to like more "extreme" flavors (I once depicted her eating raw spicy peppers, for example). Does taste tend to fall in the "sensory overload" category, and if so, is this off?
Taste can absolutely be overloading for some autistic people, like any other sense. Many autistic people are very picky when it comes to food (taste-wise but also texture-wise), and some children can only eat a few different foods (this is also true in adults but tends to be less intense, as the adult will have had more time to find different foods which don’t set off their “sensory alarm”, so to speak).
But sensitivity to any sensory input is something which comes in different levels: an individual autistic person can be very hypersensitive, hypersensitive, normally sensitive, hyposensitive, veryhyposensitive (with many levels in between) to one particular kind of sensory input.
People who are hyposensitive to a specific kind of stimulus tend to crave stimulation of that sense, since they don’t get enough of it through “usual means”. Thus, it is very common in persons with hyposensitive sense of taste to like very spicy food or food with a strong taste.
So you don’t have to change this aspect of your character, it is well into the range of autistic peculiarities!
I’m hypersensitive and I LOVE spicy food. I put chili sauce on my vindaloo, baby. SPIIIIICE!
Yes, what Cat said - hypersensitivity doesn’t mean “hypersensitive to absolutely everything all the time”, and not all autistic people are even hypersensitive. We’re complicated, what can I say? :D