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Rodney Peete and Holly Robinson's Quotes on Raising Autistic Son

Oyin Balogun
May 03, 2021
08:00 A.M.

Rodney Peete and Holly Robinson have had a lot to say over the years about raising their autistic son, and indeed, it has been one hell of a journey for them! Read on to learn about the couple's experience so far.


Former NFL star Rodney Peete and his wife, Holly Robinson, are proud parents of four children, including their autistic son, Rodney Peete Jr., aka RJ. But while parenthood has been fun for these two, raising RJ has come with some challenges.

However, Rodney and Robinson have taken the challenge head-on. What has it been like for them so far? Read on to know this and more, including some of the couple's best quotes about being parents to their son!

Holly Robinson Peete and Rodney Peete at the Habitat LA 2018 Los Angeles Builders Ball at The Beverly Hilton Hotel on September 27, 2018 | Photo: Getty Images

Holly Robinson Peete and Rodney Peete at the Habitat LA 2018 Los Angeles Builders Ball at The Beverly Hilton Hotel on September 27, 2018 | Photo: Getty Images



Though Robinson and Rodney both had a hard time coming to terms with their son's diagnosis, for the NFL star, it was a big blow.

In April 2010, Rodney opened up about his first reaction to RJ's diagnosis, admitting that he went into denial because of his expectations as a man and a father. The NFL star said:

"… I was in denial about what he had, what the doctor was telling us. It was a dark time for us."

Holly Robinson Peete and husband Rodney Peete attend a screening of Hallmark Channel's "Christmas at Holly Lodge" at The Grove on December 4, 2017. | Photo: Getty Images

Holly Robinson Peete and husband Rodney Peete attend a screening of Hallmark Channel's "Christmas at Holly Lodge" at The Grove on December 4, 2017. | Photo: Getty Images


Later that month, Rodney also explained that he always looked at life competitively, trying to control and fix problems he stumbled upon.

Rodney described RJ's diagnosis as the most challenging thing he had to experience but added that he learned one thing—some things can't be fixed. He said:

"I couldn't just fix autism. When I finally accepted that, that's when I became a better father."



For Rodney and his wife, learning that RJ would not be like most kids was difficult, but accepting it as their reality was even harder.

Eventually, embracing their reality was all the couple needed to move forward. In doing so, not only did they learn how to accept their son, but they also realized life was not as bad as they thought. Rodney once said:

"There is light at the end of the tunnel. There is hope."



Expertly, Robinson and Rodney had their lives changed forever after learning that their son was on the autism spectrum. A few years ago, Robinson opened up about what it was like being a parent to an autistic child. She admitted that it brought their family together and said:

"The autism dropped us to our knees in a way that made us very real and connected to a community that we didn't know that we would be connected with."


Not only did RJ bring his family closer over the years, but he also taught them the real value and importance of patience. Rodney once said:

"He's taught everybody tolerance. I think he's taught everybody love and respect, and that's what every one of our kids has."



When RJ was first diagnosed, doctors told Rodney and Robinson that their son would neither be able to attend a regular school, speak or say "I love you." That proved to be untrue.

Today, the couple remains inspired to help their son and others like him lead normal lives.

Not only did RJ attend a mainstream school, but he also learned to play the piano. Most importantly, he tells his parents, "I love you."


But none of this would have been possible without Rodney and Robinson's commitment to giving RJ the best life and surrounding him with plenty of love. Today, over two decades after RJ's diagnosis, he leads a pretty normal life.

He made it through middle school, has a job as a clubhouse attendant for the Los Angeles Dodgers, and has a whole circle of friends. Commenting on all of these, Robinson said:

"He's doing all these things that I was told he would never do. It really makes you emotional because I can't believe he's come so far, and I'm still so blessed."



Even more commendable is Robinson and Rodney's relentless advocacy for their son and others on the autism spectrum.

Last year, Robinson started a campaign, asking for the implementation of RJ's law, a law that would help cops identify drivers with autism. About how she got inspired, the actress said:

"About four years ago when RJ started driving, it was a big deal because they said he would never drive …He has autism, he is different --"


In 2017, Robinson also teamed up with accessories brand Stella and Dot to create two bracelets whose proceeds were donated to the HollyRod Foundation.

HollyRod Foundation, owned by Rodney and Robinson, hopes to help families who struggle with autism and Parkinson's disease. The actress said:

"The donations from Stella & Dot will help us to continue to open our RJ's Places across the U.S. and Canada…."


Today, the couple remains inspired to help their son and others like him lead normal lives. Calling it impressive would simply be an understatement!


With their experience raising an autistic child who is now so well-grounded, it is only expected that Robinson and her husband share how they have done an amazing job over the years. Rodney once said:

"Each parent needs to treat their child as an individual and really come down to their level ... and really not put the pressure on our children..."


During a 2010 interview, Rodney shared some more parenting tips for those that have kids with special needs. The NFL star noted:

"You have to educate yourself on how to communicate with your child and understand that this is all about his world and his goals—not yours."

Despite their initial fears, Robinson and Rodney have undoubtedly done an amazing job with RJ. For these two, family is everything, and parenthood remains the best thing to ever happen to them!

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