Mothers of children with autism provide invaluable support to one another…even in Hollywood. When Jenny was first researching autism, she reached out to a celebrity whose son is struggling with the same disease—Holly Robinson Peete. Jenny calls Holly her "angel."
In their first phone conversation, Holly says they talked for about nine hours. "[Holly] gave me that hope that no doctor did," Jenny says.
Holly and her husband, retired NFL quarterback Rodney Peete, received their son R.J.'s diagnosis in 1999 but waited until the summer of 2007 to go public with their experiences. Holly says they waited to talk about autism until they felt more informed. "I didn't feel like I knew enough about the disorder at that point," she says.
Back in 1999, Holly says there were very few resources for parents of autistic children. Even doctors were less informed than they are today. "I had a developmental pediatrician tell me, 'Your son will never do this, he will never say he loves you, he will never do that,'" she says. "It was a very interesting ride."
Previously, 1 in 500 children was diagnosed with this neurological disorder. Today, Holly says 1 in every 94 boys is affected. For unknown reasons, autism disproportionately affects boys.