Jacqueline Laurita is taking a stand for those with autism — including her 8-year-old son, Nicholas.
The Real Housewives of New Jersey alum claimed in a series of two Instagram posts shared Sunday that her young son was “kicked out” of their local public library because he was making noises, including “non contextual vocals & tapping.”
“So..Nicholas got kicked out of one of his favorite 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,” wrote Laurita, 47.
Laurita claimed that, “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. 😔”
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“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,” she wrote. “Time to go back and educate them! Time for inclusion. #autismawareness #autismawarenessmonth #ChrisAndJacFightBack.”
The first video posted on Instagram shows Nicholas pulling out plastic-encased DVDs and tapping them twice before putting them back on the shelf. In the second video, Nicholas sits on the ground and makes noises while looking at the DVDs.
In a statement to PEOPLE on Monday, a statement from the Franklin Lakes Public Library Board of Trustees said, “it is our joy to welcome any patron to enjoy the Franklin Lakes Public Library and we expect all to respect others doing the same.”
“Our policy of inclusion is demonstrated daily. Our staff has years of expertise catering to patrons who are physically challenged, visual or hearing impaired, as well as special education students from our public school system, and developmentally delayed children and adults,” the statement continued.
“We welcome all visitors and we happily accommodate everyone. No patron is ever asked to leave the Library unless and until their actions are depriving other patrons of the ability to enjoy our services,” it concluded.
The alleged incident came at the beginning of April, which happens to be Autism Awareness Month.
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At about 18 months old, Nicholas began regressing with his speech and motor skills, then refusing to answer to his name or notice people enter a room. “We had no idea what was going on,” Laurita told PEOPLE exclusively in 2012.
After an agonizing wait to see multiple doctors, the Lauritas got a diagnosis: Nicholas is autistic. “I worry about him being independent when he’s older,” Jacqueline admitted. “I spend all my time researching what we can do for him.”
Speaking with PEOPLE in 2016, Laurita said “there’s still a lot that needs to be done,” when it comes to helping her son. “But he’s making progress. He’s brought so much joy to our family.”
Laurita, who shares Nicholas, as well son CJ, 15, with husband Chris Laurita, 48, said Nicholas has taught the family so much.
“He’s brought us really close together in a lot of ways, too,” she said. “It’s an interesting journey, and I love the journey that we’re on. I’ve met so many great people through it. I’ve just learned a lot.”
Us Weekly first reported the news.