Last month, The Real Housewives of New Jersey
star Jacqueline Laurita told People
that her son Nicholas had been diagnosed with autism
at the age of 3. Now she is opening up about what her son's condition means for him and the rest of their family.
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"We parent Nicholas with lots of love, hugs, kisses and praises," Jacqueline told the New Jersey local Wyckoff-Franklin Lakes Patch
. "I am very hands on. I do a lot of flashcard work with him. What we did change was his diet. He's on a gluten free/casein free diet with other supplements to make sure my picky eater is getting the right nutrition. It's a hard diet to follow... but it's worth it. We have seen positive changes in him."
Jacqueline explains that little Nicholas also has an intense therapy schedule to help him develop the skills that the condition affects.
"He gets home ABA therapy five days a week," she explained. "He has made progress already. They work on speech and language, behavioral, motor skills, etc. He starts preschool next week in a special services room with an IEP program set in place. We have been looking into other options for treatments that could help him as well."
Jacqueline also went into detail about the struggle it has been to deal with the diagnosis in the public light of her show, and while she wasn't ashamed of admitting her son had Autism, they didn't want to exploit the issue for the show.
"All of our friends and family knew there was an issue before we got the actual diagnosis. We decided not to publicize it on the show until we had an actual diagnosis and a treatment plan in place. Bravo knew as well and respected our decision to wait on airing it until we felt comfortable. I felt like it was one thing to show my life, but my son didn't sign up for this. Since the actual diagnosis, and the article in People magazine, all of my cast mates have reached out to us for support except for Teresa [Giudice], but that was to be expected."
With her continuing experience with her son's autism, Jacqueline intends become quite active in the autism community through charity work and sharing her story. Gina PusateriContributing Writer(Image courtesy of Bravo)