Jacqueline Laurita, Nicholas Laurita, Chris Laurita, Christopher Laurita

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It's a good thing Jacqueline Laurita is such a loving mom.

The Real Housewives of New Jersey star recently revealed to People that her 3-year-old son Nicholas has autism.

The toddler's speech and motor skills began to regress at about 18 months of age. "We had no idea what was going on," Jacqueline, also mom to 21-year-old Ashlee and 10-year-old C.J., says.

"I worry about him being independent when he's older," she says. "I spend all my time researching what we can do for him."

Her husband, Chris, tells the mag they "didn't want to believe it was true" that Nicholas suffered from autism. "You never want to think your child isn't perfectly healthy."

Jacqueline is already working as an advocate for autism awareness and treatment. She's hosting a benefit Sept. 20 to benefit Autism Speaks.

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