I really don’t think people who aren’t Autistic or who don’t struggle with sensory issues understand that when it comes to certain stimuli, those things provoke actual feelings of pain, nausea, disgust, discomfort, etc for people that are Autistic/have sensory processing disorder.
Take “picky eating.” I was labelled a “picky eater” even as a little toddler. I couldn’t eat sauce, tomatoes, or have my food touching other foods. People said stuff like “She’ll grow out of it” or “She’ll eat it if she’s actually hungry” or “Tastebuds change; she’ll like it when she’s older!"
But the fact was, if it was a food I couldn’t eat, I literally couldn’t eat it. I’d try to eat lasagna and start crying, and gagging, and I’d have to spit it out. Guess what? I didn’t "eat when I was hungry” if it was one of those foods, I just didn’t eat. This was especially an issue when I started going to school and daycare (I eventually got a note from my doctors that detailed my Autism diagnosis and sensory problems, so that the local kids center would provide me with alternative meals. They treated it the same way they did with kids with allergies, basically.)
Also, I didn’t “grow out of it.” I still cannot eat tomatos, sauces, and most mixed food dishes. Because I just can’t even make my mouth chew and swallow without gagging and spitting the food out. Just a couple months ago I went to grab some chicken wraps from the local taco place, and I asked specifically that they hold the sauce. But they didn’t, so when I took a bite I got a mouthful of pain and chucked it right into my napkin (gross, I know. I’m making a point here though.)
So when Autistic people, or anyone with a sensory processing related disorder, tells you that they cannot handle something-whether that means being touched, wearing certain clothes, being around noise, or eating certain foods-remember what I just said. That’s how it feels, when people willfully ignore our reminders and warnings about our stimuli and triggers. That’s what you’re doing when you touch someone when they tell you it hurts them, or make them wear that suit or outfit, or put sauce on their food when they politely ask you not to. Granted, overload is different and presents differently in everyone, but bottom line-you’re choosing to disrespect someone’s boundaries, and their medical issues, and you are hurting them when you force certain stimuli on them after they’ve asked you to stop. Just respect people, and don’t shame people for not being able to handle or do the same stuff other people can.