Holly Robinson Peete Discusses Raising A Teen With Autism

BY: - 19 Apr '12 | Parenting

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Holly Robinson Peete recently sat down with B.L.A.C. Detroit to discuss her experiencing raising a child with autism and how she is helping her son, RJ, 14, navigate his teenage years.

From B.L.A.C. Detroit:

Actress Holly Robinson Peete was once best known for her roles in  21 Jump Street  or  Hangin’ with Mr. Cooper. But for the past decade, she’s had an additional fan base and they don’t care about her acting chops.

They are people””parents””like her who have lived through the ups and downs of raising a child with autism. Since Holly’s oldest son, RJ, was diagnosed with autism about 12 years ago, she has become a tireless advocate for the autism community, speaking out for parents and siblings of children with autism as well as for the children themselves.

She and her husband, former Detroit Lion Rodney Peete, run the  HollyRod Foundation, which works with families affected by Parkinson’s Disease and autism. They are raising funds for a center to be built in Los Angeles later this year, which will provide low-cost services to the entire family of a child affected by autism.

This month, Holly Robinson Peete will be the keynote speaker at  Metro Parent‘s fifth annual Living with Autism workshop on April 25. Before her appearance, Peete discussed surviving her son’s teen years, her hope for his future and her mission to help other families affected by autism.

Your son is 14 now. How are the turbulent teen years affected by his autism?

For us, the hardest things are the social circles ““ you know, those packs of boys that run wild on a middle school campus. We’d been so fortunate to have a great elementary school that had groups of kids who just embraced him and lifted him up, and now that they are in sixth grade and going on to the next level, things are starting to go a little downhill. That’s hard for any teen, but when you are on the spectrum and you have social deficits it’s especially challenging.

Check out the rest of the story here.

BMWK family, do you have an experience in dealing with special needs children? Sound off!  

About the author

Ashleigh Atwell wrote 38 articles on this blog.

Ashley Marshall-Seward is a mom who does it all! She is the creator behind MommyWeek.com where you can discover a wide variety of topics relating to women & family from food to travel. She is a homeschooling mom to three and wife of 13 years. Ashley seeks to inspire and motivate women daily!


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3 WordPress comments on “Holly Robinson Peete Discusses Raising A Teen With Autism

  1. Lamar Tyler

    We’re going to be bringing more articles and resources to the site for parents of Autistic children to support you and your marriages so please stay tuned. In relation to the article we greatly appreciate the tireless work that Holly Robinson Peete is putting in.

  2. Sarena James

    I feel the very heartbeat of Holly Peete’s story. I remember the psychologist office and her uninterrupted words, “Your son has Autism.” Numb. My husband and I had absolutely no idea what that meant for us as a family, and especially for our son. Every answer we received only led to more questions. We felt completely isolated and unfairly judged. https://onaisle9.wordpress.com/articles/ Instead of milestones, we now journey and celebrate our lives by the inch. We started a website, http://www.onaisle9.com with conversations to enlighten and strengthen those of us on this very unpredictable journey. Here we share our family’s story and the story of other families who purpose to give their child(ren) every possible way to live their life to their fullest potential, without comparisons. The progress our son has made is remarkable and he continues to be one of our greatest teachers. Thank you for listening BMWK…

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Daddy Power = Girl Power

BY: - 20 Apr '12 | Parenting

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by Brenda’s Child

Early on, there was no doubt in my mind that I could be beautiful and girly one minute, strong and fearless the next. If She-Ra could do it, so could I. Let me refresh you about She-Ra. She was He-man’s twin sister and the “Princess of Power.” One moment she was gorgeous Princess Adora, but when she pulled out her sword, she became a heroine; and my inspiration.

With this in mind, I decided I would try out for wrestling my freshman year of high school”... or so I thought. When my friend and I attempted to enter the gym, we were suddenly intercepted by the coach. The words that came out of his mouth cut me as quickly and as deeply as a guillotine. He told us we had to be out of our minds if we thought he was going to let us on the team. Then he abruptly dismissed us and demanded we go back to class.

Although the circumstances may vary, this type of thing still happens on a daily basis. A girl loses her sense of power because she is placed in a box by the expectations and rules of others. Often when it happens, it undermines a young girl’s confidence in her capabilities. All of a sudden, the world that is supposed to be her oyster snaps shut on her.

Sometimes it’s one event, other times it’s a culmination of negative interactions that make us feel like we need to surrender our inner She-Ra and liken ourselves to Snow White or Cinderella. When we compromise the essence of who we are, it becomes easy for us to lose ourselves. Suddenly being a follower becomes easier than taking the lead. By marching to someone else’s tune, we aren’t alienated because we’re different. We belong.

Daddies, you potentially have the biggest impact on your daughter’s abundance or lack of girl power. You are the first man to love your daughter, so if she ever feels rejected or neglected by you; it can scar her for life. However if she knows that Daddy has her back no matter what, she will know she can do any and everything.

My father had become a recent paraplegic at the time of my mother’s passing (I was four) so I did not grow up living in the house with him. But when I needed an appendectomy at age seven he was right there with a plush puppy for me (which I still have) as I was wheeled into surgery. He has always seemed to take joy in his daughter’s lively personality and ambitious endeavors.

My father made me feel like I could do anything a boy could do, and maybe even better and he balanced it out with chivalry. Knowing I had his unconditional love has been the safety net I’ve needed to walk the tight rope of dreams, and why no coach or no other man has ever broken my spirit.

Brenda’s Child is a mother, special education teacher, poet, and founder the mentoring program, Keep Youth Dreaming and Striving. Her memoir, The Right Amount of Sunshine”...Cultivating Little Girls into Young Ladies, is just one of the many ways she is fulfilling her mission to inspire others through poetry,stories, and leading by example.

About the author

BMWK Staff wrote 1236 articles on this blog.

Content and articles from the staff and guest contributors of BlackandMarriedWithKids.com


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