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Real Housewives of New Jersey stars Jacqueline Laurita and her husband Chris share that their son Nicholas, 3, has been diagnosed with autism.

We know this story started getting passed around to the media sites, but we wanted to hold off on posting it until we had the magazine in our hands and could share more of the story with you than just the snippets released previously.  Jacqueline recently gave an interview where she shared the highs and lows of dealing with an autistic child.  She also expresses that she’s not going to give up on making sure Nicholas’ needs are met while they strive to save him from this disorder.

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Jacqueline shares her family’s struggle with the print only version of People, and she reveals the pain of realizing when her son started to lose his ability to communicate.  She says that once he began to speak, Nicholas would always say, “I love you Mommy.”  Jacqueline also revels in her toddler’s motor skills.  However, once he hit the fifteen month mark, both she and Chris noticed a regression in their son’s speech and motor skills.

At eighteen months, Jacqueline realized there was a problem.  “He wasn’t answering to his name or noticing people come into the room.  He couldn’t follow a simple command.  He wouldn’t say ‘I love you.’  We had no idea what was going on,” the reality television star reveals.

After completing an online autism checklist, Jacqueline recognized the warning signs.  She admits, “I saw just about everything he was doing on that list.”  Her husband Chris says, “You never want to think that your child isn’t perfectly healthy.  We didn’t want to believe it was true.”

While the couple’s realization was initially devastating, Jacqueline acknowledges that she is very blessed to be able to afford the time and the money involved with raising an autistic child.  After suffering through five miscarriages, she was thrilled to give birth to Nicholas.  Knowing that his diagnosis will be something the family will have to continue to deal with, Jacqueline explains the distress of having to deal with the news.  She admits, “They say early intervention is key.  It was a race to get him help.”  Chris adds, “Everyday we had to wait for treatment felt like a day we were wasting.”

The Lauritas have studied autism, and while they don’t subscribe to the position that early vaccinations are a cause, the couple did decide to place Nicholas on a dairy and gluten-free diet after speaking with other parents of autistic children.  Jacqueline touts this diet change as helping with his concentration and focus, and she asserts, “As a parent you want to try every avenue you can find.”

The housewife explains that therapy is helping with the family’s plight, although it did bring out some behavioral issues with Nicholas.  The couple makes sure not to reward his bad behavior, but they also struggled with keeping their issues off of the Bravo hit show.  Jacqueline tells the magazine, “Everyone knew, but we weren’t ready to put it out there until we had a treatment plan in place.”

This does explain a lot of Jacqueline’s distance this season, and I applaud her for putting her family first.  Of the drama the viewers see, she admits “it all seems petty” in light of dealing with her son’s diagnosis.  Of his son’s socialization issues, Chris laments, “You want him to get adjusted and go to a mainstream school, but I worry about how the other kids will treat him.  It breaks my heart knowing what he may go through.  I worry about him being independent when he’s older.  I spend all my time researching what we can do for him.”

Of Nicolas’ improvements, Jacqueline couldn’t be happier.  She shares, “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.  I’m so glad about that.  It would have been tragic to lose that.”  Jacqueline continues, “Everything he says is a celebration.”

While no decision has been made about  RHONJ’s fifth season, if Jacqueline is part of the cast, she wants to document Nicholas’ journey.  She expresses, “If I could help one person by showing this, it would be worth it.”

I don’t know about you, but this pretty much explains the Jacqueline we’ve been seeing for a while.  Clearly this is a beyond stressful family situation, and I applaud her for sharing her story.  I just hate she had to deal with her crazy cast mates’ drama while trying to do what is best for her son.

TELL US-WHAT DO YOU THINK OF NICHOLAS’ DIAGNOSIS?  COMMENT’S ON JACQUELINE’S INTERVIEW?

 

 

 

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