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The Real Housewives of New Jersey alum Jacqueline Laurita has always been open with fans about her son Nicholas Laurita's autism journey. To mark Autism Awareness Month in April as well as World Autism Awareness Day on April 2, Jacqueline shared in great detail what it's been like to watch her son grow up since his diagnosis, which she confirmed in 2012.
"I can’t help but remember how I felt when Nicholas got his Autism diagnosis. I’ll also always remember how I felt during his regression, before his actual diagnosis. It hurt my heart SO deeply! It was (and still is at times) extremely difficult to see him struggle with things that come so easily to his peers. I don’t think it’s easy for any parent to see their child struggle with anything," she wrote on Instagram. "In the beginning, I had SO many fears of the unknown. I still have some of those fears, but what I’ve learned is that my child always has the ability to learn more, even if it’s at a different pace than a typical child. Anytime I feel Nicholas is not progressing fast enough, I remind myself of how far he has actually progressed from where he started, and that gives me hope for the future. I know that right now, Nicholas is loving and brilliant! He has an incredible memory, amazing sense of humor and a light within him that shines through with loving energy. He brings so much joy to my life and our family. It may not have been the childhood I had originally imagined for him, but it has been just as wonderful seeing him learn, grow and evolve. We celebrate every new word spoken and new skill attempted and/or mastered!"
Jacqueline went on to share: "Nicholas is a happy kid! He makes me smile everyday! I can’t imagine Nick not being Nick. His quirky ways are so endearing to me. It’s been an absolute pleasure raising him, and I am proud to be his Mother. He has taught me so much about life. He taught me things like patience, compassion, and acceptance of [others'] idiosyncrasies, and how hard work and persistence pays off!"
Last week, Jacqueline, who now lives in Nevada with her husband, Chris Laurita, as well as their two sons, Nicholas and older brother CJ, shared that Nicholas was back in school for in-person learning after classes went remote amid the pandemic. Jacqueline noted that classes are now hybrid between in-person and remote learning.
"Nick had a great first day back at school! He got to peek in the library and had fun in class!" Jacqueline shared on Instagram. "I’m shocked and proud that he actually tried the slushee drink he made at school! He’s usually pickier than that and won’t try new things! They made 'pink snow', which is basically a watermelon slush made of watermelon, vanilla yogurt, almond milk, and ice! YAY Nick! I asked him if he had a good day, and Nick said, 'YES!'”
Prior to heading back to class in person, Jacqueline shared some of Nicholas' remote learning highlights, including when he was a weatherman and when he hung out with the robot that helps him with his studies. "Meet the newest member of the Laurita family, Kebbi, and Nick’s newest friend! Kebbi the robot has been working with Nick at home to help with learning and socializing through lessons and activities that were customized to meet his IEP goals! Nicholas absolutely LOVES him!" she shared.
Last month, Jacqueline also shared video of Nicholas and dad Chris hanging out a cousin's birthday party. In the post, she noted how much family members have supported Nicholas. "He was happy to participate for the most part! His Daddy @chrislaurita helped guide him through the games. His big brother CJ was there as well! He had a little anxiety over wanting to help [his cousin] Oli open his presents, but Oli was so sweet and handed a few off to Nick, which calmed him down. When Nick needed a break from the sensory overload from the party, he retreated to his cousin's room to relax and read books. Overall it was a fun night and Nick enjoyed himself. Happy Birthday Oliver! Aunt Mary @mrgrippe @mrdesignlab and Uncle Tommy @gripfu77 are the best! Thank you for including us!" she shared.
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