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Jacqueline Laurita deals with plenty of drama on the set of The Real Housewives of New Jersey, but there's one subject that she's not ready to bring up in front of the cameras: her 3-year-old son Nicholas.
The 42-year-old mother of three gave birth to Nicholas after a years-long struggle to have another child. But she now has come out to say that she started seeing some concerning behavioral problems when he turned 18-months old, around the same time that the fourth season of Bravo's hit reality show was being filmed.
Nicholas started regressing with his speech and motor skills, and then stopped responding to his name or noticing when people would enter the room, People reports. "We had no idea what was going on," Laurita admits in a new interview."
After taking Nicholas to multiple doctors to try to discover the source of his behavior, Laurita and her husband Chris discovered that their youngest child is autistic.
Autism generally shows itself in the first three years of a child's life, and affects their motor and social skills. The CDC reports that about one in every 88 children has been identified with having some sort of autism, and that it is about five times more prevalent in boys than it is in girls.
"I worry about him being independent when he's older," says Laurita. "I spend all my time researching what we can do for him."
Her husband adds, "You never want to think that your child isn't perfectly healthy. We didn't want to believe it was true."
The couple also has two other children: Ashlee, 21, (from Laurita's previous marriage) and C.J., 10.
Now we're beginning to understand why Laurita didn't have much patience with Teresa Giudice during the fourth season of Real Housewives. Hopefully Giudice is a little more understanding as filming for season five gears up. We're curious to see if this subject is discussed now that Laurita has come out in the open about her son's condition. It certainly would ground some of the drama that exists in the series already.