Kate Gosselin's Tough Decision: Why Her Son Is Away Getting Help

"When you have a child with special needs, everyone is affected," Kate tells PEOPLE

Photo: Larsen & Talbert; Brian Doben

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Kate Gosselin is opening up about her son Collin.

In this week’s issue of PEOPLE, the reality star reveals how she came to the hard decision of enrolling her 12-year-old son in a program away from home that can help him reach his full potential.

“Collin has special needs,” Kate tells PEOPLE. “[There’s] a fairly fluid diagnosis of what those needs are, but he needs to learn certain strategies to help him deal with things. This has been a struggle we’ve had for a very long time, and it’s one I’ve dealt with on my own. I’ve felt very alone in this. By the same token, it’s not something that has only impacted me or him – our entire family has been impacted.”

For more updates on the Gosselins – and how the kids are handling Collin’s absence – pick up this week’s issue of PEOPLE, on newsstands Friday

Collin is currently “enrolled in a program that is helping him learn the skills he needs to be the best him he can be,” she says. “We miss him so much, so it’s been hard because there is a huge hole in our family without him here. But it comforts us to know he’s where he needs to be right now, and I can feel good about that.”

RELATED VIDEO: Behind the Scenes at the Gosselin Family Photo Shoot

Collin is one of the sextuplets Gosselin welcomed on May 10, 2004, along with Alexis, Leah, Hannah, Joel and Aaden.

“When your kids go to college, do you miss them? Yes, but you reassure yourself that they are getting so much out of it,” she says. “And that’s the same sort of investment I feel like I’ve made Collin’s future.

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