Jacqueline Laurita: My Son Has Autism

08/22/2012 at 09:15 AM ET

Jacqueline Laurita had tried for years to have another baby, so when she finally welcomed son Nicholas three years ago, the proud mom celebrated his every achievement.

But then, at around 18 months old, Nicholas began regressing with his speech and motor skills, then refusing to answer to his name or notice people enter a room.

“We had no idea what was going on,” the Real Housewives of New Jersey star, who hid her son’s medical issues from the reality cameras as she continued taping season 4 last year, tells PEOPLE exclusively.

After an agonizing wait to see multiple doctors, the Lauritas got a diagnosis: Nicholas is autistic.

“I worry about him being independent when he’s older,” admits Jacqueline, who is also mom to Ashlee, 21, and C.J., 10. “I spend all my time researching what we can do for him.”

Adds her husband Chris: “You never want to think that your child isn’t perfectly healthy. We didn’t want to believe it was true.”

For all the details about the autism diagnosis, the Lauritas’ struggle to get treatment and Jacqueline’s Real Housewives future, pick up this week’s issue, on newsstands Friday.

— Charlotte Triggs

FILED UNDER: Exclusive , Kids , News , Parenting , Reality TV

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Jessica on

Thanks for sharing your story, Jacqueline. Lots of families out here with the same issues. He looks so much like his daddy 🙂

Grace2 on

Thank you for sharing. Nicholas is a beautiful boy, perfectly made. A diagnosis won’t ever change that. It’s a label that will enable you to get help for him. But it doesn’t define him. He will be much more than the diagnosis.

As a mom with a son on the spectrum, I can tell you that you are not alone. It is scary at first and extremely overwhelming. But know that all the kids I’ve ever seen diagnosed, only improve once therapies begin. Sometimes, and I’ve seen this in a couple little children, after a few years of intensive therapy, they are taken off the spectrum entirely. Or, the issues become so mild they are hardly noticeable. My son didn’t talk until he was nearly four, but once he did, he won’t stop!

Surround yourself with family and friends who love you and Nicholas unconditionally. Drop quickly friends like Theresa because you do not have the energy for that life-sucking drama.

Best of luck to you and your family. It will be ok. Ok will look different than what you dreamed about when pregnant with him, but different is good and beautiful too.

mari1 on

@grace 2,I guess she should drop Caroline as well because she is a negative,spiteful human being…anyway this is not about Teresa or the NJ cast its about the child.Can we please drop the teresa hate.It’s a show and they are getting paid to act ,geesh.

drea on

Jacqueline has always seemed to have such a big heart and struggled with doing the best for her kids, i.e. Ashley.

To read this was a total shock.

I only wish the best for her family.

Sara on

I wish you all the luck in the world on your journey with your family. My son also is on the autism spectrum, and the information out there can be overwhelming and a bit scary. I have no doubt that you will find the information you need to help Nicholas becoming a strong and successful young man. We obviously only see a small portion of your life on television, but if that little bit that we see is any indication of the mother that you are, Nicholas is lucky to have you on his journey.

Anjie on

Jacueline is my favortie!! With her love and the support for her family, Nicholas will succeed. I just hope that God awful Teresa does not say anything negative about his condition….like blaming Jaqueline. She took a jab at Jacqueline with she was dealing with Ashlee, basically saying is was her fault. Teresa will have her hands full with her 4 bratty, spoiled,out of control daughters & she deserve every bit of it. Good luck Jacqueline

Kallie Ann Thornburg on

Thank you for sharing your story. I wish you the best of luck on this lifelong journey. Surround yourself with tons of love and support, and you will get through it =) I know– my 7 year old son also has Autism.

ccct0304 on

Mari you seem to be taking the Theresa comment a little too personal, do you know her by any chance? You happened to make it a bigger Deal than what Grace did, whom I happen to agree with! Anyways I wish Jaqueline nothing but the best for her and the rest of the family!!

mari1 on

@cc,Teresa or anyone else didn’t give this child autism.I don’t see hows she’s relevant in this blog.You all can have your opinions about someone but what does she have to do with this childs condition? I have watched CBB turn from a decent blog to a ruthless one.The way people on here attack eachother and celebs in the way they do is horrid.An opinion is nice to have but why go out of your way to say hurtful things? Take a look at the Hanson article if you dont see what I mean. I am so sick of hearing people call another persons children brats.If you have a problem with how a child is being raised then you should offer to raise them yourself.

Marie on

They seem like such loving parents. I wish them the very best and know they will do everything they can to give him the best life and best chance at an independent life. Jacqueline and Chris have huge hearts, Nicholas is such a gorgeous little boy!

Jule on

Too much botox!!!

Sandra on

What a beautiful boy – He must look like his father (never seen the show, so wouldn’t know) – because he looks nothing like his mother.

Kelly on

Nicholas looks just like his father with those piercing blue eyes! Gorgeous boy and Mom!

Joy on

Every year over 35 you take the higher chance of having a child with some sort of issue, she was what 38 instead of her want for a baby she should have thought about the future of child, she took that chance and this the end result

karen on

This is so sad for any family but luckily they are well off and they have the resources to help him. I’m sure they will find him a good school and he will learn to the best of his ability.

Their family is huge and very close so I’m sure there will be no lack of people to take care of him when he’s older.

Grace2 on

Joy, you’re wrong. The mother’s age has nothing to do with a higher risk for Autism. Why can’t you just wish her and her son the best instead of trying to assign blame? It’s not sad her hold is on the spectrum. It’s sad that people want to blame his mother.

Cambria on

One of the major components of strife in these threads is blame. How is blame going to help the child?

Nina on

You are a strong woman and definitely not alone. There is hope for children with autism or children on the spectrum. God Bless you and your beautiful son and family!