The ‘Real Housewives of New Jersey’ star opened up about her son’s autism diagnosis, and how she and her family are working to support little Nicholas.
Jacqueline Laurita, 42, is known as the bubbly and outgoing mom of three on The Real Housewives of New Jersey. But when her youngest son Nicholas began experiencing odd behavior and a regression of speech and motor skills, the reality star hid her son’s health problems from the cameras — and focused on finding out what was wrong.
At just one year old, Nicholas could feed himself with a spoon and would regularly say, “I love you mommy,” Jacqueline told People.
But at 15 months old, she started noticing his speech and motor skills were falling behind. By 18 months, it became a bigger issue.
“He wasn’t answering to his name or noticing people come into the room. He couldn’t follow a simple command,” she said.
“He wouldn’t say ‘I love you.’ We had no idea what was going on,” he told the magazine, fighting off tears.
After seeing several doctors and a waiting period that seemed like forever, the Lauritas got the official diagnosis — Nicholas has autism.
“It breaks my heart knowing what he may go through,” Jacqueline said. “I worry about him being independent when he’s older.”
Jacqueline and her husband Chris Laurita, 46, sought treatment right away, knowing that early intervention is key.
Although the cause of autism is unknown, Jacqueline and her husband chose the path of treatment they felt was best for Nicholas. He has a daily therapy session, and sticks to a dairy-free and gluten-free diet.
Jacqueline, who is also a mom to Ashlee, 21, and CJ, 10, says she and her husband see improvements in his daily activities, as well as his behavior.
“I know they say a lot of autistic kids are not affectionate, and I don’t know how god allowed it, but he’s always hugging and kissing me,” she said. “I’m so glad about that. It would have been tragic to lose that.”
How inspiring. We are so happy to hear that Jacqueline and her family
— Christina Stiehl