Jacqueline Laurita’s Storyline for Season 5 Would Be Nicholas’ Autism; The Timing of Her Announcement Coincides with Contract Renewals, Season 4′s Explosive Ending and the Upcoming Reunion (Updated 8/27/2012)
August 25, 2012 60 Comments
On September 10, 2012, Jacqueline Laurita was a guest on the Anderson Cooper Show. He asked her if she will be back for season 5, for which she neither denied or confirmed. Chris Laurita said that if asked back, he and Jacqueline would use the RHONJ as a platform for autism awareness.
They are all narcissists. To put yourself on TV is to be one. I’ve worked with many actors, and believe me, this is almost a necessary trait to be in the public eye in this vein. Someone further down the thread mentioned that Bravo was tiring of Teresa’s inflated ego due to fame. Weren’t they all chasing fame? Kind of part of the deal, and it’s the competitiveness over the spotlight that has got the storyline to where it is. I personally would argue that they are infamous rather than famous …. Horses for courses, it’s reality TV. Putting ego and id aside, this is a new step on Bravo’s behalf. Perhaps I’m being repetitive; however, please consider this: Bethenny has a well documented fractured relationship with her mother — Bravo certainly could have courted her, but did not go down this path [like the path they went down to hire the Gorgas and Wakiles to antagonize Teresa] — Bravo has the right to employ whomever they wish — that would have made for a spicy episode, don’t you think? What about Jeff from Flipping Out and his self professed flawed character — they didn’t go on a fact finding mission with him? Teresa deserves no more and no less than her counterparts, but somehow she’s got the raw end of the stick because some pimpled-faced producer, filmmaker wanna-be decided to make some controversy. Ratings gold. Brilliant, show me the money! Do it — perfect business sense — but do it impartially and fairly, not pointedly and maliciously… Don’t slaughter the golden goose…. Pretty sure they’d be making some coin off her ‘fame’. – Anonymous, August 25, 2012, The Fame-Whorgas
If anything, the “diagnosis” has given Jacqueline a get out of jail free card.
Jacqueline told People Magazine that she concealed Nicholas’ disability from the show as cameras rolled on its fourth season last year “but would be open to chronicling what’s going on if she signs on for a fifth year.”
“I am sorry to hear about her child, but you would think that she would keep it private. Especially since she trash talked other people for selling stories to the tabloids.” – AT, Independence, MO USA, August 23, 2012, The Daily Mail
Nicholas’ autism would be Jacqueline’s new storyline now that Ashlee has left home. Here are some other highlights from her People Magazine article:
- At 15 months, she saw a regression in his motor skills.
- At 15 months, he started to lose his ability to communicate.
- She says that once he began to speak, Nicholas would always say, “I love you Mommy.”
- At 18 months, he wouldn’t say “I love you.”
- At 18 months, he wasn’t answering to his name or noticing people come into the room.
- At 18 months, he couldn’t follow a simple command.
- They waited 8 months for their insurance to clear them to see a specialist, which was followed by the official diagnosis from a family doctor.
- She is starting to see behavioral issues.
- “I know they say a lot of autistic kids are not affectionate, and I don’t know how God allowed it, but he’s always hugging and kissing me.”
“Nothing! & we are helping people not hurting people. Not an illness!” – Jacqueline Laurita, August 26, 2012, Twitter, when asked by @KateHolmesF, “How much did you paid to exploit your son’s illness?”
Jacqueline tweeted that she wasn’t paid by People Magazine. Someone should tweet Jacqueline and ask her if she got paid by People Magazine for the photos of her and Nicholas. And maybe somebody should remind Jacqueline that she put out negative things about Teresa Giudice on Twitter, and she says she’s paid to tweet, so then she is paid for her stories!
Nicholas must have been extremely precocious if he was saying “I love you Mommy” at 18 months old; however, more likely than not, Jacqueline is exaggerating her story and Nicholas didn’t say that at 18 months old. A baby says his first word usually between 10 to 15 months, and the average age an infant says his first word is 13 months. Once a baby speaks his first word, he begins identifying other understood words by saying them. By 18 months, the average baby can speak close to 50 words. From 18 to 24 months, babies begin combining words (usually subjects and verbs or adjectives and nouns) to create two-word phrases to communicate. These two-word utterances leave out parts of speech and are direct: “Want cookie,” “Sara mean,” and “Fat cat” are examples of two-word utterances. [Source]
Initial diagnosis of autism requires parents self report any and all behaviors that they are concerned about. Given what we have seen about Jax on the show with her daughter, she almost seemed to enjoy the martyrdom that came along with having a “bad child” — like a jacked up psychological Munchhausen by proxy. She loved her crying scenes, thrives on Chris saying she has “such a good heart” blah blah blah. Any mother of a teenage daughter could spin their antic into making them appear to be the devil’s spawn but MOST mothers wouldn’t do that. Jax did. Jax did it with relish. I can only hope that the doctors could weed out any bullcrap such as this before agreeing with a parent that the child has autism. It seems to me that Jax has major perception problems when it comes to her interpreting the actions of other.
• Tree won’t share her struggles with me!!!!! (as much as I think she should)
• My child won’t show me affection!!! (as much as I think he should)
• Ashlee won’t babysit CJ!!!! (as much as I think she should)
• My child doesn’t listen when I say his name!!! (as quickly as I think he should)
• My college-aged daughter is obsessed with hanging out with her friends (imagine that)
• My toddler son is obsessed with his tonka truck (imagine that)
• It goes on…..
A misdiagnosed child is tragic and intentionally misdiagnosed child… no words.
- madepiley, August 23, 2012, StoopidHousewives
The photos below are stills from a video that Ashlee took during the Manzo’s/Laurita’s Jersey Shore vacation in August 2012 (they rented a big house, which they all shared; they tweeted photos throughout their ‘vacation’). Nicholas is more than three years old in the video. Just a week after this video was taken Jacqueline released her story to People Magazine about Nicholas having autism. Note that autism doesn’t affect the development of motor skills, which Jacqueline says is one of Nicholas’ symptoms.
“Do not feel bad for Nicholas. He’s extremely smart & making great progress. He’s happy and loved. Thank you all for the support though. xx” – Ashlee Holmes, August 22, 2012, Twitter for iPhone
- Nicholas was born June 11, 2009 (according to IMDB.com), so in December 2010 he was 18 months old, which is when Jacqueline first noticed his ‘regresssion’.
- The season 2 finale aired on September 6, 2010, and reunion 2 was filmed shortly thereafter.
- Filming for season 3 began almost immediately, in late September/October 2010. Jacqueline first noticed Nicholas ‘regression’ in December 2010, a couple months after filming for season 3 began (filming ended in mid March 2011). However, they waited 8 months for their insurance to clear them to see a specialist, which was followed by the official diagnosis from a family doctor around August 2011.
- Filming for season 4 began late May/June 2011, six months after Jacqueline first noticed his ‘regression’, and continued through September 27, 2011. Nicholas was diagnosed in August 2011, around the time of the meeting on Jacqueline’s deck, where she criticized Teresa for replying to Danielle’s tweet and stated that she wanted to distance herself from Teresa and her family.
- The big blow up during the PFS at the end of season 4 (to be aired as the season 4 finale) was filmed on September 27, 2011, about two months after Nicholas was officially diagnosed with autism. The reunion for season 3 was filmed the next day, September 28, 2011, and aired two weeks later in early October 2011.
By Carolyn H.G., Comment Posted at StoopidHousewives
August 24, 2012
That Jacqueline Laurita would PREY UPON THE COMPASSION OF THE PUBLIC by using her son’s developmental issues to avoid facing accountability for her INDEFENSIBLE behavior is OFFENSIVE TO THOSE FACED WITH THE CHALLENGES OF AUTISM.
The timing of Mrs. Laurita’s announcement couldn’t be more obvious; her PR team scheduled its release to coincide with the season’s explosive ending and the show’s upcoming reunion, where the New Jersey housewife will surely face the audience’s wrath for her shameful actions.
Mrs. Laurita had a solid YEAR to serve as an outspoken advocate for those dealing with Autism Spectrum Disorders. She had every opportunity to sit down for countless interviews to SPREAD AWARENESS and SUPPORT RESEARCH. Instead, she spent precious time and energy trashing her cast mate on social media, in blogs, and on television. Now, she is attempting to hide behind the issue of Autism to garner sympathy from the audience and escape culpability for her morally questionable conduct.
It’s not surprising this group would stoop so low. After all, the audience is already anticipating their excuses:
• Caroline’s bullying and ruthlessness wasn’t her fault; she was menopausal.
• Melissa executed a devious plot to humiliate and destroy her husband’s only sibling because she was hormonal during her pregnancy.
• Jacqueline didn’t punch Caroline in the face because she has impulse control issues and she’s emotionally unstable; she was suffering from Post-Pardom Depression. (What about the arrest for assaulting an ex-boyfriend in Las Vegas?)
• Jacqueline already tried to explain away her vile treatment of her (former) best friend with claims of “low testosterone.” Unfortunately for her, the audience didn’t buy it.
Perhaps Caroline Manzo crafted this strategy? Remember, the Manzo-matriarch’s son, Albie, flunked out of law school NOT because he was too busy playing on Twitter and enjoying his newfound Bravo celebrity status; ADD was the culprit. (By the way, I’m not discounting ADD; I, myself, have ADD, as do many SUCCESSFUL professionals.)
As an aside, had Mr. Manzo not been tossed out of law school, he and his family members would know they’re walking a fine line in touting BLK’s “health benefits.” Remember the class action suit against the herbal supplement Airborne? Statements made by the Manzo and Laurita families indicate they probably DON’T.
In an article in the Wyckoff-Franklin Lakes Patch, Mr. Manzo claims:
“A mother gave her autistic son BLK to drink, thinking its unique color might get him drinking more water. The boy not only drank it, he loved it, but the amazing part, he started behaving. The mother reached out to Albie, shocked, who sent her two more cases to try. Her son is stimming less and listening and following directions more. The difference, she told Manzo, is unbelievable.”
Comments, such as this, suggest THE LAURITA AND MANZO FAMILIES MAY BE POSITIONING THEMSELVES TO USE AUTISM AS A PLATFORM TO PROMOTE THEIR PRODUCT. Not only are they preying upon the “pity” of the public, they’re PREYING UPON THE HOPE OF FAMILIES DESPERATE FOR A CURE. That is truly DEPLORABLE.
More Readers’ Comments from StoopidHousewives, AllAboutTRH, and Reality Tea:
Ragin_Cajun_theonly1 said on August 26, 2012:
Ahhhhh, I guess we are not gonna see Jax in one of her Posche sausage dresses running down the hall screaming at somebody with Tre by her side. Jax wants sympathy and times that article about Autism to come out at the end of the season to make her soft again? Well, who the heck is manipulating the fans with tabloid stories? If her son was diagnosed with Autism a while ago then why is she all about getting messy with Tre? I will say screw you I am not gonna get upset all over your trampling booty and concentrate on my son. She did the same thing with Ashley. Instead of paying attention to her at the Fashion Show she is there poking that Dani Bear with Tre until it was her daughter that was eventually charged. When is Jax gonna get her act together for her children’s sake?
Lee said on August 27, 2012
I live in Bergen county like Jacqueline and I don’t understand why it took so long. I called the Bergen County Health Department and they sent someone to evaluate my son in 1 week and my doctor sent me to Hackensack hospital for an evaluation. In 2 months I was receiving services. I hope he attends a therapeutic preschool.
Barb Aroneo Roach said on August 25, 2012 at 4:50 PM
I wrote a comment last night Linda, what sickens me the most is that they are going to exploit the child by showing him on the next year’s NJHW if they are asked backed. He is going to be their story line. That is horrendous.
love nj said on August 24, 2012 at 10:21 PM
It’s scary how low they will go. Albie Manzo works for Chris Laurita. Nichola Laurita is Albie’s cousin. Nicholas supposedly has autism. (We haven’t seen the medical records – so I am using supposedly). Now, Albie is giving two cases of Blk water to a woman whose son has autism. The woman claimed that Blk water made her son behave. So, will Nicholas’ autism be manipulated to help sell Blk water for some purported health benefits and for sympathy for the Laurita family? I think so. Well, if Albie is L.D., he should stop slugging the alcohol and start slugging Blk water. How about Lauren drinking Blk water? Change her mood. This family is very crass and vulgar. If they ripped off Signature Apparel, they will rip off anybody else.
Kiki LaShrew said on August 24, 2012 at 11:48 PM
I got my copy of People today. Judging by the pictures, either photoshop or plastic surgery is Jax’s biggest enemy, not Tree. Jax said they had to wait 8 months for their insurance to clear them to see a specialist which was followed by the official diagnosis from a family doctor. For those who live/lived in NJ is that sort of wait normal for people with money and insurance? She said everyone knew during the taping of season 4 but they chose not to share it publicly but it will be part of her storyline if they return for season 5. Poor delusional Jax apparently just “watched in a daze as her castmates squabbled”. She said, ” It all seemed so petty. My head was here. I couldn’t take it anymore.” Ashlee is included in the family portrait (featuring her awful foot tattoo) and Nick has a shirt on that says, “My Mom Rocks.”
Bryan said on August 26, 2012:
Now with the money situation and the cost of treatment, has Jacks cut back on the weaves, botox or whatever else she has done, and visits to her spiritualist/nutritionist she was seeing?
Parkview said on August 25, 2012 at 1:53 PM
Hey Jac, I think you said you had to wait 8 months for insurance approval. That truly is a shame. I would however like to point out to you, for future reference, that doctors and therapist take CASH. In fact, they love it. No red tape there. I am suprised you did not know that given your plastic surgeon certainly has been taking your cash. Plastic surgeons are doctors, too.
madepiley said on August 25, 2012 at 3:10 PM
Now that we know what was going on during filming, Tree was not about to “out” Nicholas’ issue on camera by asking Jax about it because she respected Jax wish to keep it quiet. Tree was being the true friend and Jax was not able to discern that.
holy cannoli said on August 22, 2012 at 11:56 am
God Bless you Nicholas! Damn Jacqueline went to a “tabloid” and “sold” a story. Oooooo, and it was about her child!!! Can you freakin imagine if Teresa would have done this??? OMG, she did it for sympathy, blah blah blah!!
Kristina said on August 22, 2012 at 12:39 pm
While I agree that this is a life altering event in her life, and I truly hope and pray for her son, I find it very difficult to be sympathetic towards Jacq. The reason being, any normal mother going through something like this with their child… doctor visits, test, etc… would NOT have the time or patience to focus so much on someone else’s life. She said all of this was going on while they were filming season 4. So we are to believe that when the cameras weren’t rolling, she was dealing with her son… and when the cameras were rolling, she had the energy and mindset to constantly attack Teresa, not only on the show but on twitter as well (and her twitter rampage carried on past the filming and into the airing of season 4 the next year). If she was a good, honest woman, she would have been ENTIRELY devoted to her son! She is nothing but low life and a poor excuse for a mother (who has the emotional maturity of a 14-year old). God help her children!
jerseygirl said on August 22, 2012 at 12:51 pm
Be prepared to pop your top repeatedly because she’s going to be called out on it. The timing of this article is suspicious to say the least. Why not continue to keep this very private matter, private? Why come out with it now, when her popularity on the show is at an all time low? And from the sounds of it, she’s using this article to SHILL BLK WATER!?!?! That dear, tightly wound up “Cris” is why this article is all about PR and marketing. And this mess comes out a day after she gets on her blog to give Teresa some more sh*t for exploiting her loved ones for tabloid $. If she is right and magazines pay for articles, then Jacqueline just profited from her child’s illness. Exploiting your own child’s pain is worse than anything Teresa has been accused of doing with the tabloids.
Lizi said on August 22, 2012 at 1:53 pm
She’s looking for sympathy because she thinks that that’s how Teresa sells her books. She said it herself that people buy Teresa’s merchandise because they feel sorry for her. So she figured she would give it a try and maybe someone will buy that black crap. I’m sorry for the kid, but the fact that he has autism does not excuse her awful behavior. Sorry.
Sugarlump said on August 22, 2012 at 7:51 pm
I have a feeling that her defense will be that she decided by making Nicholas’s story public she could bring more attention to the disorder and to the charity. And she’ll make sure she’s holding a bottle of BLK water and wearing a Cafface t-shirt while making that defense!
ladynblack said on August 22, 2012 at 12:06 pm
Feel for the family and special prayer for Nicholas. But I agree the timing is suspicious and Wacko constant complaining that Teresa is contacting the magazine providing family stories contradict what’s she’s doing now. What’s the difference with Teresa supposedly giving family stories to the tabloid? Perhaps whacko needs sympathy to sell blk water.
hoolie said on August 22, 2012 at 1:32 pm
Why wait until Season 5 to raise awareness. Her hate campaign against Teresa on Twitter for the past year could have been redirected to her sons condition and promoting awareness/raising funds. Autism and any other disorders/diseases do not wait around to strike or for contract renewals.
Sugarlump said on August 22, 2012 at 7:54 pm
I knew this would be her defense for making his story public. Save the world Jacqueline at your son’s expense! smh
Maggs said on August 22, 2012 at 1:05 pm
I have nothing but compassion and hope for her little boy, but that doesn’t suddenly change what I know about Jacqueline, or what she has done and continues to do to a former close friend. She tried to destroy Teresa’s credibility and livelihood at a time when she should have, at the very least, kept quiet if she didn’t like something about Teresa, given what she knew Teresa was dealing with. This is apparently what Teresa has done with Jacqueline. She never uttered a word about Jacqueline’s troubles, not on camera and not to the tabloids behind her back.
Bionic said on August 22, 2012 at 1:28 pm
First, she stated her excuse for not showing up at the reunion was because she couldn’t stomach what a BAD and FAKE friend Teresa was. She went running to KimG’s house and got drunk…. So for her to backtrack and say that it was because her son was diagnosed is pure lies. Either way you want to put it. She either lied then or she is lying now. A liar is a liar. The end. Sad that she has neglected and even left her son behind to tag along with this show for the sake of fame. God has a funny way… This lady has a wacked out daughter and now an autistic child and has been more worried about a “friends” personal issues than her own. I wonder why women like her are even blessed with children?!
DLL said on August 22, 2012 at 5:15 pm
I really hope that she is not planning on exploiting the child either, but that last sentence “would be open to chronicling what’s going on IF SHE SIGNS ON FOR A FIFTH YEAR” really has me wondering if she is sending a message to Andy, because we all know how he likes exploitation for ratings. Also, over on SH, it was mentioned that Albie tweeted something about a “woman” who has an autistic child gave the child BLK and the child really improved. That also sounds like exploitation to me. I wonder who the “woman” was? I really don’t want to believe that Jax could be that desperate for money, but she did mention the expense of caring for autistic child, so I really hope not.
DLL said on August 22, 2012 at 5:50 pm
Yes, her concealing it all last season and then waiting a year, THEN going to a tabloid makes this whole thing suspect! Also, the charity event for autism – how much of a cut does she get from that event? SH spoke with someone from the autism charity and couldn’t get any clear answers on that, so she recommends that anyone who wants to give, give to the charity directly instead of spending $100 to $110 for a ticket for the “event” that is being held at the BROWNSTONE. I would bet money that there will probably be some BLK water for sale there, too, since it is supposed to be good for autistic children, according to the tweet that Albie mentioned he received from a woman who gave it to her autistic child.
housewife99 said on August 22, 2012 at 8:12 pm
Interesting also how different people react to circumstances. Teresa took charge and made earning and keeping her family afloat a priority, despite the hate spewed upon her by her castmates and friends. Jacqueline however, continued to bash her friend, instead of making her son a priority.
nancyadopt said on August 22, 2012 at 3:03 PM
Their reaction, or how they deal with it, will be nothing autistic parents would benefit from. Bravo has never helped bring a positive light to anything – autistic parents would not learn anything, and it will just be another angle for Bravo to promote. It is a little frightening that any faith would be put in Bravo or Jax on how to handle this properly and to benefit the cause of autism.
Ana Cephaly said on August 22, 2012 at 3:46 PM
Do you think Bravo is the appropriate venue to highlight the challenges of raising a child with autism – with their fake set up scenarios for maximum dramatic effect and the disgusting antics of the people on the show? I would be very uncomfortable watching Jacqueline in one scene having a drunken hissy fit over Teresa and then in the next assuming the role of advocate for her special needs child. I don’t feel that Bravo would handle it with the necessary respect and dignity.
Susie said on August 22, 2012 at 1:15 PM
The show is their main source of income but a high price to pay for exposing all your skeletons. Kids are now being dragged into the storylines. Bravo is beyond sick when it comes to making $$.
pjbottoms said on August 22, 2012 at 1:44 PM
OK I have to mention this… on one of Jac’s blogs (the one where she talked about writing a beauty book with the 20 years worth info she keeps in binders), she said now that Nicholas will be in preschool, she will have time to focus in all her “projects.” WTF????
Suspect said on August 22, 2012 at 1:47 PM
Reunion coming up, Chris’s mistress possibly being in a mag this week backlash, Ashlee tweet about filming S5 (maybe exit filming or autism mentioned to fit in S4), Albie comment about Blk helping autism. Call me crazy but very good timing for the sympathy vote & nice PR setup
fistgeneration said on August 22, 2012 at 2:13 PM
She better put the vino down and the twitter away. If she wants to help her son, he is going to need the help of his parents at every turn. You have to be consistent and follow routine. You need to be able to speak with doctors, school officials, to make sure everyone is on the same page. You can’t let him be off by himself while you are drinking, twittering, or even on this type of show. Honestly, if her character to date is how she really is, then she isn’t the one that’s going to be able to help her son. You have to face it and do everything you can to help. First, I think she needs to stop drinking and clear her head.
Malissa said on August 22, 2012 at 3:48 PM
I [thankfully] am the mother of a healthy 3 year old and I certainly don’t want to sound insensitive or cruel. However she claims “I spend all my time researching what we can do for him.” Umm…. not really, there is too much drunk twittering going on for that to be true. I’m going to pray for that precious little child to get the help he needs, in spite of being born into a family like that. Also, if this is some kind of sick twisted promotional ploy for BLK, I will be outraged!
lobstahsmaht said on August 22, 2012 at 3:55 PM
Let me get his right? Jax spews hatred at Teresa for being on magazine covers and how she divulges family secrets, but then she puts her autistic child out on display to the world in People? She sold out her child to People? What the heck.
Barb Aroneo Roach said on August 22, 2012 at 5:08 PM
There is no way they can exploit him by putting him in front of a TV camera. If they do, they should be immediately reported to Family Service.
BritishBev said on August 22, 2012 at 6:19 PM
IMO the BLK reference should be removed – this isn’t an advertisement opportunity; this is about a little boy who has been diagnosed with autism. Shame, utter shame, on the Manzos for trying to use this news as another ad campaign. Your black hole of desperate free advertisements have reached an all time low. I hope nobody buys this pathetic brand at all.
Aint PittyPat said on August 22, 2012 at 8:51 PM
If the show isn’t a positive experience for Jax and family then perhaps it’s time to move on. With all this going on with Nick, why would anyone try and take another family down. This season could have been devoted to mending relationships, repairing friendships – but that doesn’t garner ratings. Russell Armstrong’s suicide was exploited by Bravo so, if the past is any indication, Nick’s autism will be as well.
nancyadopt said on August 22, 2012 at 2:39 PM
I wish I could think positively about this, but the facts don’t lie. The Brownstone is getting publicity for this event, it comes at a time that would save her contract with Bravo, the Vodka that MeGo promotes will probably be donating the liquor or contributing. This whole thing does not look like altruism, but looks like marketing exploitation. I really don’t see how it can be beneficial for an autistic child to be exploited by Bravo (because they only exploit and we are the voyeurs). This whole revelation about her child and charity fundraiser has really lowered any goodwill I felt for Jax and Caroline, and MeGo. They should all be pushing for her to spend all her time with her son, as early intervention is the key to a normal life. Reality exploitation would never be an answer by a physician – and I would never believe she wants to suddenly help all the autistic parents by showing her son on TV. The paycheck would be the devil’s money…so to speak. It would not truly benefit her child in the end to have all those cameras and attention stuffed in his face.
nancyadopt said on August 22, 2012 at 3:08 PM
I really believe this event is for promotion for the Brownstone and to present Jax in a good light, not at all altruistic for Autism Speaks. There is no upside for Autism Speaks. They will probably raise the same amount of money if they had called 10 friends for a 100 donation – this event is a publicity stunt and nothing else when you look at the character of everyone involved and the timing of it as well.
An Autism Primer: How Do You Know If It’s Autism?
Autism is a brain disorder that is present from birth, but often does not show up until around the age of four, when parents notice their child is acting “different”.
If your child shows at least half of the traits below, you might wish to contact your health care provider. It is important to understand that all autistic people are not that same, and do not necessarily exhibit all of these symptoms.
• Difficulty in mixing with other children.
• Insistence of sameness. Resists changes in routine.
• Inappropriate laughing and giggling.
• No real fear of dangers.
• Little or no eye contact.
• Sustained odd play.
• Apparent insensitivity to pain.
• Echolalia (repeating words or phrases in place of normal language).
• Prefers to be alone. Aloof manner.
• May not want cuddling or act cuddly.
• Spins objects.
• Not responsive to verbal cues. Acts as if deaf.
• Inappropriate attachment to objects.
• Difficulty in expressing needs. Uses gestures or pointing instead of words.
• Noticeable physical over-activity or extreme under-activity.
• Uneven gross/fine motor skills.
While there is no “cure” for autism, there is help and hope. Early intervention can make a lot of difference in your child’s future.
What Is the Difference Between Mental Retardation and Autism?
There is a major difference between mental retardation and autism. Autism is not a form of mental retardation, even though many autistic people appear to act like people who suffer from retardation. In fact, autistic people generally are very intelligent. On the contrary, people who have mental retardation, by definition, lack the necessary skills for daily living and have below-average intellectual capability.
Austic people have inconceivable sensory experiences. In many cases, they may react to situations in a sensitive manner. It can also be difficult for them to interpret what they are experiencing. As a result, it is common for them to avoid being touched by other people. Their brains might have insufficient sensations to let the rest of their body know what is happening, which ultimately leads to more confusion for an autistic person.
Hearing and vision problems in people with autism also are different. Many of the noises they hear hurt their ears because they cannot process sound correctly. When people talk to them, it is difficult to understand what is being said. In a comparison of the vision capabilities of people with mental retardation and autism sufferers, autistic people have a more difficult time recognizing different faces. Bright lights and flickering frequencies make seeing objects a difficult task.
Autism: Symptoms, Signs and Tests
All children should have routine developmental exams done by their pediatrician. Further testing may be needed if the doctor or parents are concerned. This is particularly true if a child fails to meet any of the following language milestones:
• Babbling by 12 months
• Gesturing (pointing, waving bye-bye) by 12 months
• Saying single words by 16 months
• Saying two-word spontaneous phrases by 24 months (not just echoing)
• Losing any language or social skills at any age
These children might receive a hearing evaluation, blood lead test, and screening test for autism (such as the Checklist for Autism in Toddlers [CHAT] or the Autism Screening Questionnaire). A health care provider experienced in diagnosing and treating autism is usually needed to make the actual diagnosis. Because there is no biological test for autism, the diagnosis will often be based on very specific criteria from a book called the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual IV. An evaluation of autism will often include a complete physical and nervous system (neurologic) examination. It may also include a specific screening tools.