- (PHOTO) Twitter: @JacLaurita
"Real Housewives of New Jersey" star Jacqueline Laurita recently revealed that her 3-year-old son Nicholas has autism.
The reality TV star and her husband Chris reportedly tried for years to conceive Nicholas, her third child, and it was not until he was 18 months old that he began regressing with his speech and motor skills. He would also allegedly refuse to answer to his name and notice people enter a room.
"We had no idea what was going on," Laurita told People.com. The 36-year-old is often seen experiencing emotional breakdowns on the hit Bravo reality TV show, and it appears that dealing with her son's condition in conjunction with the cattiness from her co-stars may be to blame.
"I worry about him being independent when he's older. I spend all my time researching what we can do for him," she said.
The Bravo star is also mom to Ashlee, 21, from her previous relationship and C.J., 10, who she conceived with Chris.
"You never want to think that your child isn't perfectly healthy. We didn't want to believe it was true," Chris explained.
Autism is a disorder of brain development which is characterized by impaired social interaction and both verbal and non-verbal communication as well as by repetitive behavior. It is estimated that the disorder affects 1 in 88 children and 1 in 54 boys.
Laurita's candid interview comes just two weeks after it was reported that she suffered an emotional breakdown due to her ongoing feud with her co-star Teresa Giudice and that she subsequently refused to partake in filming for season 4's reunion show special.
A distressed Laurita reportedly turned to Kim "Kim G" Granatell- a woman who has been widely condemned by a number of Laurita's cast mates in prior episodes- on the night that the reunion show was filmed because she needed comforting.
"Jacqueline seemed so traumatized that night, so we sat on my couch, had a few shots of Cafe Patron and chatted 'til 3 a.m., Jacqueline [was] telling me that she hated Teresa Giudice, and that I had been right about her all along," Kim G told Fox News' Tom Murro.
Laurita and the Vh1 network have not addressed whether the reports regarding the reunion show are accurate.