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Jacqueline Laurita: Autism Is "Just a Small Piece" of Her Son's True Self

Jacqueline Laurita may love the Yankees - but she's an even bigger supporter of her son Nicholas.

With all the drama going on between the Real Housewives of New Jersey cast, it’s easy to forget sometimes that these women are real wives and mothers, subject to the same daily joys and challenges as the rest of us. So let’s put aside the infighting between the Housewives for now.

For Jacqueline Laurita, many of those joys and challenges involve her youngest son, Nicholas, who has autism. The three-year-old was first diagnosed as a toddler when he began exhibiting symptoms such as speech regression and lack of eye contact.

Since then, Jacqueline has become a staunch advocate for autism awareness, researching all she can about the disorder, participating in fundraising events and reaching out to other moms for support and information.

Her tweets this past weekend are just one example of how close the subject is to her heart.

For instance, she shared a number of videos and links to articles, news reports and organizations dealing with autism, among them Autism Speaks and TACA (Talk About Curing Autism).

Jacqueline also connected with Holly Robinson Peete, whose work on behalf of autism awareness is well-known. Holly’s teen son, R.J., has autism. She and husband Rodney Peete founded the HollyRod Foundation, which offers support and information for families dealing with autism and Parkinson’s disease (Holly’s father was diagnosed with the neurological disease when he was only 46).

“Maybe you could share some of your knowledge regarding Autism with me sometime,” the RHONJ star wrote to the actress. “I’d appreciate that.”

Holly quickly replied, “Anytime!!”

Jacqueline also took some time this weekend to fill her fans in on some of her thoughts and observations about Nicholas.

To a follower who cited a news report saying that swimming can calm people with autism, Jacqueline replied, “Definitely does with Nicholas.” Music may also be a key to Nick’s therapy; she says that he loves noodling around on the piano and that “Lessons are definitely in the future!”

She also mentioned that she and her older son, 10-year-old C.J., are working on ways to communicate with Nicholas, whose speech skills are still developing. “C.J. and I are learning sign language right now while trying to teach Nick. We are more into it than he is.”

To someone who told her she should talk to a doctor rather than getting information from other parents, Jacqueline retorted, “Do u realize how much help I get4 my son on Social media by professionals &other Moms that can relate? Docs don’t experience all.”

Jacqueline has even learned to modify her wording when talking about her child. “I’ve made the mistake of saying ‘my Autistic son,’ ” she admits. “I’m correcting myself. He has Autism. It’s just a small piece of who he really is.”

The reality-star mom is adjusting to the reality of life with a child who has special needs. She carries a keychain to remind her of the well-known “Holland” essay, which urges parents like her to be patient and appreciate the slower-paced but still beautiful journey.

And she never stops trusting that Nicholas will one day surpass everyone’s expectations. To a fan who tweeted, “Nick WILL recover #keepthefaith,” Jacqueline answered, “We believe!”

Do you have any advice or questions for this Real Housewives mom?

[Photo: via Twitter]

More from Shana:

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Family Day! Heidi Klum and Her Boyfriend Go to the Park With Her Kids

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