For parents of children with autism, public outings can sometimes be difficult. Whether they encounter sensory overload at an arcade or even at an open playground, the child's reaction to different stimulants can be unpredictable, which can be scary for parents. For Jacqueline Laurita, a former cast member on the Real Housewives of New Jersey and mother to an 8-year-old boy with autism, their public outing gone wrong happened in the local public library. Jacqueline recently explained on social media that her son was "kicked out" of the library for "non contextual vocals and tapping," and by speaking out she hopes to spread awareness (April is autism awareness month, coincidentally).
"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," she wrote alongside the video above of Nicholas tapping on DVDs before putting them back on the shelf. "They just watched me struggle to get him out . . . as asked. 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."
Jacqueline shared an additional video of her son sitting on the floor and making noises while looking at the same selection of DVDs in the library, and while you can hear the mother kindly asking her son to keep it down because they're in the library, it wasn't until the staff asked them to leave that her son reportedly lost it.
According to People, the Franklin Lakes Public Library released a statement following the incident on Monday explaining that their staff is trained on "catering to patrons" with special needs. "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," the statement said.
Parents immediately chimed in in the comments section of the video, sharing their similar experiences and expressing sadness over what happened to Jacqueline and Nicholas. "That is heartbreaking. I'm so sorry you guys had to deal with this. People are cruel and ignorant and this should have never happened," one person wrote. "It will be OK, momma. I hate when employees tell me I need to control my child when I explain he's autistic and do my best to keep him calm. Unfortunately people just expect all children to behave the same," another added.