When doctors told former NFL quarterback Rodney Peete and his wife, actress Holly Robinson Peete, that their son RJ had autism, their lives changed forever.
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Raising an Autistic Child Dr. Travis Stork: And celebrity couple Holly Robinson Peete and Ramy Peete are hoping their family story will help many of you watching right now. Holly Robinson Peete: Our twins were born completely healthy. Ramy Peete: RJ was a happy go lucky baby. He crawled and he walked at 11 months. Holly Robinson Peete: He was hitting all of his milestones, just like his twin sister and then he went to the doctor’s office. He had battery up-shot and he had a terrible reaction. Terrible fever and then he sort of regressed and faded out. Ramy Peete: Yeah. Holly Robinson Peete: It was just this light that went out one day. The pediatrician told us, “Look he’s boy he’ll catch up.” When he was three years old, he had his evaluation and we got the news that he had autism. Ramy Peete: No only that we get the news. We got -- he will never look in the eye, he will never come and say I love you. He will never mainstream in school, he will never play organized sports. He may never live on his own. So these are the things that you need to get ready for. And our son was three. Holly Robinson Peete: It literally was a -- it just ripped our hearts out. We went out into the waiting room and we just sat there and we just cried. Neither one of us had any experience with autism and really quite frankly didn’t know what it was. Ramy Peete: Yeah, we were “okay, so he has got autism so what do we need to do?” Holly Robinson Peete: “So now what?” Ramy Peete: And then we get it right. Holly Robinson Peete: And where is the weapon to autism handbook. You all got one of them? Ramy Peete: And then it went too “oh, no, no you don’t understand this is life long deal.” “I can’t fix it?” that was my response “I can’t fix it? I got to be able to fix this”. One of the biggest challenges was balancing our son that needed so much attention and dealing with our other children. It’s important to have the whole family involved. Holly Robinson Peete: We’re extremely fortunate that RJ has beaten the odds. Ramy Peete: We had the child that was able to be receptive to all of the treatment and therapies that he was getting and make progress. Holly Robinson Peete: His brain is beautiful. It’s wired a little differently. But he has brought us thing to enjoy and blessings that we never thought we would have.