R.J., who turns 10 years old in October 2007, has made a lot of progress over the years thanks to Holly and Rodney's persistence and patience. He has even learned to play the piano. "He has perfect pitch," Holly says.
Rodney opens up about his son's diagnosis.
Although some family members were critical of Holly and Rodney's decision to go public with their son's disorder, Holly is happy with the outcome. "My son is amazing. He's come a long way, and he is very conscious of the fact that he's helping other people by the family sharing his story," she says.
By talking openly about autism, Holly hopes people will begin to change their perception of the children who live with it every day. "We need to value these children that are here. We need to stop thinking about them as children who are retarded," she says. "We need to stop thinking about them as children who don't have the capacity to learn."
Holly says R.J. was kicked out of one school because the educators deemed him "unteachable." Now, he's working with a partner in a new school and making strides. "We have to figure out how their brains work," Holly says. "There are a lot of people who are on the spectrum who are brilliant."