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    Mayo Clinic Minute: Building autism awareness

Autism spectrum disorder is a serious neurodevelopmental disorder that impairs a child's ability to communicate and interact with others. It also includes restricted repetitive behaviors, interests and activities. These issues cause significant impairment in social, occupational and other areas of functioning.

There is no cure for autism, but early, intensive interventions can make a big difference in the lives of many children and their families.

The Autism Society has named April as National Autism Awareness month. That organization not only wants to build awareness about the autism, but also they want to encourage the acceptance and appreciation of people with the condition.

In this Mayo Clinic Minute, Dr. Andrea Huebner, a Mayo Clinic psychologist, explains what autism is and how it impacts lives. Vivien Williams reports.

Watch: The Mayo Clinic Minute

Journalists: A broadcast-quality video pkg (0:57) is in the downloads. Read the script.

One in 68 children will be diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder. It's a condition that involves ...

"... significant impairments in social and communication skills," says Dr. Huebner. "[Kids with autism] have difficulty reading the social cues around them and then acting appropriately."

They may isolate themselves or make repetitive movements. Some cases are mild, others more severe. The good news is ...

"... we know more than we ever have before about autism and how to help children with autism," says Dr. Huebner.

Early treatment with applied behavioral analysis is key.

"Children are taught basic principles of social and communication," says Dr. Huebner.

Research into the causes of autism is ongoing. Dr. Huebner want people to know that ...

"... in general, children with autism do get better," she says. "The behaviors that are associated with autism that are so difficult for parents to manage do get better."