NOT MY BOY
A Dad's Journey with Autism
BY RODNEY PEETE
In Not My Boy!, Rodney Peete offers not only a heartrending, candid look inside his personal journey with his son’s autism but a first-of-its-kind, inspirational road map that will help families facing similar challenges to move forward. Effectively woven throughout Peete’s moving account of his life with his son R.J. are the powerful voices, insights, and dreams of other fathers, high-profile figures as well as unsung heroes, who’ve traveled this difficult path.
Autism affects four times as many boys as it does girls. For their fathers, expectations and hopes are drastically changed—as NFL star Rodney Peete’s were when his son R.J. was diagnosed at the age of three. After a period of anger and denial, an all-too-common reaction among fathers, Rodney joined his wife, Holly, in her efforts to help their son. With determination, love, and understanding, the family worked with R.J. to help him once again engage with the world.
Eight challenging years later, R.J. has gone from the son one doctor warned would never say “I love you” to a thriving, vibrant boy who scored his first soccer goal while his dad cheered from the sidelines.ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
After his retirement from the NFL in 2004, Rodney Peete became a host of the Fox Sports Net show The Best Damn Sports Show Period, which he left in 2008. Currently, Rodney and his wife, Holly, run the HollyRod Foundation for Parkinson’s patients and their families, are extremely active in the autism community, and dedicate their lives to philanthropy and fund-raising for children. Rodney lives in Los Angeles with Holly and their four children.
NOT MY BOY: A Dad’s Journey with Autism by Rodney Peete is the story of how this former NFL Quarterback learns to deal with his son’s diagnosis of, and living with, Autism. NOT MY BOY is most appropriate to present on Father’s Day as it is a true story aimed at fathers but also I believe for everyone as it is about a family’s strength and how they all pulled together toward a common goal. When a team works together, as Rodney Peete well knows from his career, anything can happen. The book gives important information about autism and some of the things that can possibly make some children more prone to this illness. It also discusses the most up-to-date treatments and gives wonderful resources to use to find out about them. Rodney also includes throughout the book, stories from other fathers who have faced similar situations and how they dealt with it.
In NOT MY BOY, Rodney Peete is a father like any father and writes of how he struggled to deal with the diagnosis for his son and how he came to terms with it and then set out to be a strong advocate to help others who had children diagnosed with Autism. When his actress wife, Holly Robinson Peete, gave birth to their twins, there was such joy. This professional football player known to be tough, talented, and strong, had such dreams of teaching RJ about how to be successful at sports and the bond they would form from that. However, those dreams came crashing down when the Peetes noticed that a few basic developmental goals and skills were not met by the twins, and that there may be a problem.
Holly took the children to be tested to find out why things were not quite right. When the test results revealed that both of the twins had Autism, Rodney went into denial and his reaction resulted in a period of hiding away from home, drinking and smoking cigars rather than facing the truth of having a son who was not the perfect child he had dreamed about. Holly, meanwhile, agreed with RJ’s diagnosis as she saw the symptoms more pronounced in him but did not feel his sister was autistic as well. She became the strength of the family and went full force to attack this as a mother naturally would do to protect her young. Lucky to have the resources to pursue the best treatments right away, Holly went it alone for a while as Rodney continued with his denial and self-pity up to the point where his marriage was in danger and he thankfully realized before it was too late that his self destructive path was not the answer and he joined Holly to do all they could for their son and the family.
Rodney writes honestly about his initial reaction and how men will react to situations like this most often differently than women. Men think they must be responsible for caring for their family and so they believe that they can fix everything and make problems go away. If only this were true. Once Rodney Peete understood this, he was able to show what it means for a man to have real strength and the healing was done and progress began in a big way. Peete also includes stories The family now devotes their time advocating for families with children diagnosed with autism.
THANKS TO MOLLY AT VOICE
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