Parents of autistic children are often subjected to judgment by others, and reality star Jacqueline Laurita is no exception to that.
You may have seen her in the cast of the Real Housewives of New Jersey television series. She has three children but her youngest, Nicholas, was diagnosed with autism at about the age of 2.
When he was 18 months old she noticed he wasn’t meeting the same developmental milestones as other children were. His speech and motor skills regressed. He stopped answering to his name and preferred to play by himself. All the while she also noticed Nicholas made strides in recognizing letters, numbers, and was great with the iPad.
Since then, Laurita has dedicated her time to educating herself and becoming an advocate for other parents of children with ASD. She quickly learned that symptoms can be alleviated through early intervention. One particular episode showed Nicholas’s ability to regain his speech skills. Laurita’s husband, Chris, had been working diligently with their son to say one simple phrase: “I love you.” Although it is only three words it brought the entire room to tears and was extremely heartwarming to witness.
Recently, an insensitive comment was posted on Facebook that struck a chord with Laurita. The commenter suggested that it was wrong to give birth to a child with autism because it would be a waste of resources.
Initially, Laurita was extremely angry but decided to take it as an opportunity to educate people about what autism really means. As many may already know, autism isn’t something that can be detected before or even at birth; children are typically diagnosed around the age of 2 when symptoms become more apparent.
The New Jersey mother also explained that autism is a neurological developmental disorder that affects social and communication skills. She then listed 30 well-known artists, politicians, and academics who all have, or who were suspected to have, autism.
Using these facts, Laurita pointed out that people on the spectrum are not a “waste” of resources, since many of them have greatly contributed to the improvement and advancement of society. Without them we wouldn’t be where we are today. She concluded by stating that individuals with autism are different and in no way are less of a person.
Click here to read the full letter.
Written by Raiza Belarmino