Reality star Jacqueline Laurita of the Bravo show "Real Housewives of New Jersey" has announced that her son, Nicholas, 3, has autism.
Laurita, 42, revealed in the print edition of People magazine that when Nicholas was around 18 months old, she and her husband Chris, 46, began to notice regression in his speech and motor skills. "He wasn't answering to his name or noticing people come into the room. He couldn't follow a simple command," she said. "We had no idea what was going on."
A family friend suggested that the devastating symptoms might point to autism, and the couple began to research the condition. They found that Nicholas had many of the warning signs, and doctors confirmed their suspicions with an official diagnosis.
Laurita said she is pursuing multiple treatments for Nicholas, including a gluten- and dairy-free diet. "As a parent, you want to try every avenue you can find," she said. She reported that the diet has improved his focus and concentration.
Laurita and her husband worked hard to keep their son's struggles private and off-camera during the fourth season of "Real Housewives of New Jersey." If they do appear in the fifth season, Laurita said she would be open about his condition. "If I could help one person by showing this, it would be worth it," she said.
For more on the signs of autism, click here.
Image: Jacqueline Laurita via Shutterstock.