The RHONJ star says she "was never afraid to tell anybody" about her son's autism.

on Sep 5, 2012 - The Dish

Jacqueline Laurita

When Jacqueline Laurita and her husband Chris opened up to the world about their son Nicholas being diagnosed with autism, there was no fear in the Real Housewives of New Jersey mom's heart about going public with the news.

"I was never afraid to tell anybody," Jacqueline tells All Media NY in a candid interview -- her first since the initial story in People Magazine. "I don't feel it's anything to be ashamed of. My son is a beautiful, smart, happy, loving boy who just happens to have Autism. He brings us joy everyday. He's adorable and a we consider him a blessing."

Jacqueline says that she and Chris "parent Nicholas with lots of love, hugs, kisses and praises," and have also tried customizing his diet to help build his development and ensure Nicholas is getting the proper nutrition. "We've been looking into other options for treatments that could help him as well," she adds.

Perhaps the biggest surprise and upside to going public with the story was the outpouring of public support from fans of the show -- or just parents in a similar situation.

"So many have openly shared their stories with us," Jacqueline says in the interview. "It's been so overwhelming in a good way. We are so grateful and we are looking into each and every tip we get. You never know what will be the missing piece to our sons recovery. We are very optimistic about it."

As for her fellow RHONJ friends, Jacqueline said that they were all aware of the diagnosis before the story, and that "all of my cast mates have reached out to us for support except for Teresa, but that was to be expected."

Read the full interview here and follow us on Facebook to get all the latest updates on Jacqueline and other Bravo news.