Jacqueline LauritaYesterday Jacqueline Laurita of The Real Housewives of New Jersey announced the heartbreaking news that her 3-year-old son, Nicholas, has been diagnosed with autism. It was a big shock to fans to know that someone we watch week after week has been dealt this challenge, but it's a challenge that that thousands of other parents -- both those onscreen and off -- deal with each and every day.

While Jacqueline could have chosen to keep his diagnosis private, I'm glad to see that she is being so open about it. Autism knows no racial or economic boundaries, and it doesn't care if you're a Real Housewife or a REAL housewife. Understanding and greater awareness are vital to those affected by the disorder, and it's wonderful when people can use their fame to generate them. Here are five other celebrities whose children are also on the autism spectrum and have been open about their journey.

Image via Bravo