When fans were reintroduced to Jacqueline Laurita during the Season 7 premiere of The Real Housewives of New Jersey on Sunday, they were also reminded of her son Nicholas. The tearful RHONJ mom opened up about how the 7-year-old has made great strides since his autism diagnosis back in 2012, including the fact that he can now read and often tells his family he loves them despite previously struggling. When Jacqueline stopped by The Daily Dish offices, she opened up about watching her son face those challenges and grow from them.
"When you have a child diagnosed with autism, as long as they're progressing you're happy, and our son, he's progressing," she said. "Every time I think he's not progressing fast enough, I look back to where he's started and he's come a long way. And we just get more and more excited for every year that comes."
Jacqueline noted that having the ability to have the RHONJ cameras document his growth also makes it that much sweeter. "Sometimes when you think the progress is going slow you look back to where he's started, when he couldn't speak or he couldn't say certain things, and it's nice seeing [it]. It's nice having the home videos to look back on, even thought it can get crazy at times, but it's nice having that to look back on and see how much everyone's grown and changed throughout the years."
But it takes a village to help Nicholas take those steps. "We have a team of people that work with him. It's at home; it's our friends; it's family," she said. "It's his therapies, treatments, diet, everything. It's a combination of things," she said. "It's a lot of work, but we enjoy it. He's such a joy to our family. He's brought us all so much closer together."
Below, see what else Jacqueline says about her time on the series as she marks her return.