Jacqueline Laurita took to social media to share the heartbreaking story of how her son, who has autism, was 'kicked' out of a public library because he was making noises.
The mum, who stars on the The Real Housewives of New Jersey, shared a clip of her eight-year-old son on Instagram, where he’s seen pulling off movies off the shelf at the library and making noises.
In the caption, she explained: ‘So..Nicholas got kicked out of one of his favourite spots (our PUBLIC library) this week. I guess non contextual vocals & tapping 2ce on the DVD’s are frowned upon.
‘He had a meltdown as I struggled to get him to leave. Not one person offered or tried to help, or even opened the door for us. They just watched me struggle to get him out… as asked. 😔
The mum continued to express how upset the situation made her and her son feel, and vowed to raise awareness about autism in a bid to get people to understand the condition better.
‘My heart hurt so bad for the both of us after I got him out of there. The day before he had such a great experience there. I wish everyone understood #Autism . Time to go back and educate them! Time for inclusion. #autismawareness #autismawarenessmonth #ChrisAndJacFightBack’, she finished the post.
Fans of the star were quick to rally around her and send her messages of support, with many also pleading for more awareness and education on the subject.
One said: ‘Breathe and stay strong! Do not let a single person rob you of your joy… you will rise above the garbage and use this moment to teach others! Hugs!💕’
Another wrote: ‘THIS is why he was asked to leave??? That is so bizarre. There clearly needs to be more education for the staff and a better procedure in place to handle “disturbances”. Not that this even is one. So sorry this happened to you guys.’
Overwhelmed by the support she received on social media, the mum spoke about the issue again and reiterated that she wants to make a change.
Writing on Facebook, she said: ‘I left there feeling hurt that my son had to leave so abruptly from one of his favorite safe and happy places. Sudden change does not go over well with my son (very typical for someone with ASD). I also felt mortified for the way we were asked to leave in front of onlookers who said nothing and failed to even open the door for us as I struggled to get my son off the floor and out of the door as he fought to stay.
‘Once the extreme hurt subsided and the anger took over, I decided to use my platform as a voice for all other parents who have been in similar situations and have felt the same way I felt.
‘It saddens me that so many families affected by ASD, and other disabilities, keep their children away from certain facilities because of the negative experiences they’ve had there, or because of a fear of being judged, or that their child will not be welcomed, will have a meltdown, and/or asked to leave because of their non-typical behaviors. I’d like to help change that.’