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Real Housewives of New Jersey 's Jacqueline Laurita Celebrates Son Nicholas' 12th Birthday: He 'Is Loving Life'

·2-min read

Jacqueline Laurita/instagram. inset:getty

Jacqueline Laurita is celebrating her son Nicholas' latest trip around the sun!

The Real Housewives of New Jersey star, 51, shared a sweet Instagram tribute to Nicholas on Monday to mark his 12th birthday on June 11.

"Nicholas turned 12 years old on June 11!!! Best day ever!!" Laurita wrote, sharing a smiling photo of Nicholas, who has autism.

"He had hibachi with his family and got to go shopping to pick out some presents and some of his favorite junk food he's been eyeing! 👀 The next day we had a barbecue, went swimming and had some cake with other family members," she explained.

"Nicholas is loving life!" Laurita continued. "Thank you to all of you for always supporting us, encouraging us and following our journey! #LifeisGood and Nicks face says it all! 🎈😃🎂 I'm proud of this young man, his accomplishments, the love he shares, and his attitude towards life! 🤗❤️XOXO"

RELATED: Jacqueline Laurita: My Son Has Autism

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Laurita shares Nicholas and son CJ, 19, with husband Chris Laurita. She is also mom to daughter Ashlee Holmes Malleo, 30, from a previous relationship.

Back in May, the mother of three wrote in another post that Nicholas has been "having fun at school," even sharing some photos of the sixth-grader planting a seed. She also revealed that he "loves the water" and takes swimming lessons every summer.

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RELATED: RHONJ's Jacqueline Laurita on Her Son Nicholas: 'He's Brought So Much Joy to Our Family'

Jacqueline documented the early days of Nicholas' diagnosis with fans during her time on The Real Housewives of New Jersey. Since leaving the show, she's become an outspoken advocate for autism research, and a resource for many families learning to parent children of autism.

She told PEOPLE in 2016 that the experience with Nicholas has bonded her family.

"He's brought us really close together in a lot of ways, too," the reality star 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."

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