RJ Peete is a licensed driver to the thrill and fright of his mom. Holly Robinson Peete shares her heart with the Huffington Post that addresses her joys and fears now that her oldest son who lives with autism is finding his way as a young adult.
“All his life, we have been preparing RJ to live independently, to turn him over to the world. Now I am petrified to do just that,” Holly writes. The celebrity mom goes on to tell readers that her son was determined to obtain his license and accomplished his goal a few months back.
“He got his license at 19 after being demoralized by failing the test several times,” says Holly. “RJ is amazing behind the wheel,” she adds. “He is relaxed and focused and determined. His fantastic brain came equipped with a built-in GPS. RJ driving is a huge, huge win.”
Although a “huge win,” Holly admits that RJ’s newfound independence behind the wheel comes with certain risks. “What happens when he gets pulled over by police? Will he get nervous or scared? Will he process the officer’s cues properly? If not, will the officer not see my sweet, special son, but instead perceive him as a threat or a ‘bad dude’? Has the officer ever been around someone with autism? Will he mistake RJ’s quirkiness or difficulty making eye-contact for non-compliance? RJ loves to wear his hoodies ― sensorily, he loves the way the hoods feel on his head. Will that cause an officer to stereotype him?”
While there are many uncertainties and fears, Holly is determined to fight for her son’s right to live as a self-reliant adult. “I will never stop trying to prepare RJ for the world,” she says, “but the world needs preparation for young people like RJ as well.”
Holly Robinson Peete and husband Rodney Peete are the proud parents of four children. RJ and his twin sister, Ryan, are the couple’s oldest kids.
Photo: Huffington Post/Holly Robinson Peete