So far from a "they experience everything" model, this paper takes us back to accepted - and somewhat proven - idea that people with autism experience sensory stimuli differently than a "typical" person does and these differences might account for some of the disabling symptoms of autism.
The abstract is below ( I added line breaks to make it more readable) -
Perceptual and Neural Response to Affective Tactile Texture Stimulation in Adults with Autism Spectrum Disorders.
Autism spectrum disorders (ASD) are associated with differences in sensory sensitivity and affective response to sensory stimuli, the neural basis of which is still largely unknown. We used psychophysics and functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to investigate responses to somatosensory stimulation with three textured surfaces that spanned a range of roughness and pleasantness in a sample of adults with ASD and a control group.
While psychophysical ratings of roughness and pleasantness were largely similar across the two groups, the ASD group gave pleasant and unpleasant textures more extreme average ratings than did controls. In addition, their ratings for a neutral texture were more variable than controls, indicating they are less consistent in evaluating a stimulus that is affectively ambiguous.
Changes in brain blood oxygenation level-dependent (BOLD) signal in response to stimulation with these textures differed substantially between the groups, with the ASD group exhibiting diminished responses compared to the control group, particularly for pleasant and neutral textures. For the most unpleasant texture, the ASD group exhibited greater BOLD response than controls in affective somatosensory processing areas such as the posterior cingulate cortex and the insula. The amplitude of response in the insula in response to the unpleasant texture was positively correlated with social impairment as measured by the Autism Diagnostic Interview-Revised (ADI-R).
These results suggest that people with ASD tend to show diminished response to pleasant and neutral stimuli, and exaggerated limbic responses to unpleasant stimuli, which may contribute to diminished social reward associated with touch, perpetuating social withdrawal, and aberrant social development.
Cascio CJ, Moana-Filho EJ, Guest S, Nebel MB, Weisner J, Baranek GT, Essick GK. Perceptual and Neural Response to Affective Tactile Texture Stimulation in Adults with Autism Spectrum Disorders. Autism Res. 2012 Mar 23. doi: 10.1002/aur.1224. [Epub ahead of print] PubMed PMID: 22447729.