You may think you know everything about your favorite reality stars just by watching their antics on TV every week. We tend to forget that there really is a reality behind their filmed selves. These are sons, daughters, mothers and fathers with families, routines, bills, chores, joys and heartaches.
Case in point: Real Housewives of New Jersey star Jacqueline Laurita, who shares a very personal part of her life – one few have known until now – with People magazine this week.
The mom of three reveals that her youngest son, three-year-old Nicholas, has autism.
Jacqueline and husband Chris had tried for years to have a third child (daughter Ashlee is 21 and son CJ is 10), so they were thrilled when their dreams finally came true. But when Nicholas was about 18 months old, they noticed that his development seemed to be regressing. He stopped responding to his name and paying attention to the people around him.
After much waiting and testing, the couple received the stunning diagnosis. “You never want to think that your child isn’t perfectly healthy,” says Chris. “We didn’t want to believe it was true.”
Now the Lauritas are devoting themselves to getting Nicholas the help he needs – and to helping do the same for other children with autism.Jacqueline researches resources that could help her son now and in the future – “I worry about him being independent when he’s older” – and hosts events for Autism Speaks (the next fund-raiser is on September 20).
And, of course, she focuses on living by her motto, “Happy Mom, Happy Wife, Crazy Life.” After a rocky spell, Jacqueline and Ashlee are a loving mom and daughter (“we have an amazing relationship,” she recently tweeted), and calls CJ “the BEST big brother ever” to Nicholas.
The RHONJ star has a long road ahead of her. She’ll have to be her son’s defender and advocate in a world that isn’t always understanding or supportive of people with autism. But she’s determined to make sure Nicholas’s life is full of love, fun, achievements and opportunities.
[Photo: via PacificCoastNews.com]
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