It’s been more than a year since Kate Gosselin first revealed that her son Collin had been sent to a school where he was getting helped with his then-little-discussed “special needs.” Since then, fans have barely seen the 13-year-old, despite frequent appearances of his fellow sextuplets Aaden, Joel, Alexis, Hannah, and Leah and his 17-year-old older sisters Mady and Cara.

His absence from social media has become the norm for fans of the reality TV show. But still, Kate’s followers were shocked to see that he wasn’t included in the Christmas pics — leading many to believe that he didn’t even get to come home for the holiday.

The drama continued after Christmas — when Kate posted a picture for New Year’s. She wished her followers a happy New Year with a picture of two of three dogs, and fans immediately came for her in the comments. “You like them dogs more than your children,” one wrote. Another added, “Where is Collin? You care more about the dogs than him.”

While Kate has never been totally open about what special needs her son has — understandably protecting his privacy — his behavior has been something that has affected Kate’s life since he was a baby. In a letter she wrote to Collin, which was published in her book I Just Want You to Know, she said, “As you have grown, however, I must say you have also challenged my authority greatly. At two and a half, you began testing and trying my parenting at every chance. I called Daddy at work many days crying because you would not obey. As you have grown, this fact has not changed. You continue to be determined to do what you want to do, and I continue to try to rein you in.’

As she’s gotten help with Collin’s “educational and social challenges,” Kate has — on occasion — opened up about how it affects not only Collin, but all of her children (not to mention, herself). She made this clear in a statement she made announcing her decision to seek help for her son, during which she seemingly slammed her ex-husband, saying, “Collin has special needs. [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.”

It’s clear Kate’s decision to send Collin away wasn’t an easy one. Here’s to hoping he’ll be home next Christmas.

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