At least one in a hundred people have autism. Even more have some features, without so many as to meet the full definition. Those "atypical" features are in these areas:
If someone is programmed to have this atypical way of understanding, reacting and responding, that shouldn't be ignored: they need the people around them to do some things differently. When we realise a child is left-handed, we don't make them do everything with their right. Similarly, if someone has autism we shouldn't expect them to do everything as if they don't.
Working out whether someone has enough features to meet the full definition and get a diagnosis of autism takes time. Even if they only have some of the features, it will be worth learning more about autism - because the advice and strategies for those features will help.
This document (which contains a number of web links) aims to help professionals raise the subject of autism with a family, and direct them to resources they may find helpful.
Advice for Professionals
This document (which includes links to websites and to videos on YouTube) aims to help families understand a bit more about the wide range of ways in which autism can affect someone, and start finding out about ways of helping.
Advice for Children/Young People and Families/Carers
We also like this document, produced quite a long time ago by the National Autistic Society. It doesn't include any hyperlinks. It's a good document to print out, and good to pass on to other family members - particularly if they don't have good enough internet access to explore things online.
Autism and the ways you can help
This is the same document in Simple Chinese (for speakers of Mandarin)
Autism and the ways you can help - Mandarin
We are always looking for more resources in other languages. The “Amazing Things Happen” animation is now available in more than 30 languages. Also, Autism West Midlands have developed this brief “Guide to Autism” in several languages. We include the English version, so professionals can familiarise themselves with the content.