Better to educate. Holly Robinson Peete sat down with HuffPost Live on Thursday, March 17, and discussed how she has taught her son R.J. to speak with police should he ever have a run-in.
“I get worried about him having a connection, maybe, with law enforcement that may not be trained to understand these kids who don’t know social cues,” the actress, 51, said of her 18-year-old son, who was diagnosed with autism at age 3. “We drill him on what to do in those situations. We keep it real.… We’ve even gone so far as to take him to the local police department just to introduce him.”
Peete — who will be starring with her family in an upcoming reality show called For Peete’s Sake on OWN — noted that autism is “a very complex disorder,” and that her son does struggle with it. “He doesn’t have very many friends. He doesn’t have connections with girlfriends,” she said.
But in some cases, he’s just like many young men. “He loves Rihanna!” the actress said. “Thank God when we met her … she was so lovely to him!”
Though the songstress may have been kind to the young man, Peete — who is also mom of three other children with husband Rodney — worries that not everyone will understand her son and will see and judge him on his physical characteristics — he’s a “6-foot-3 African American boy … living in a predominantly white neighborhood, and he stands out,” she said.
“I think it’s very important that law enforcement understands all kinds of issues — special needs, depression, bipolar disorder, all kinds of things that our kids are suffering with so that they can police better. When you know better, you do better.”
Have a question you’d like to ask a celebrity? Check out who will be appearing on HuffPost Live and submit your question to be asked live on-air!
For access to all our exclusive celebrity videos and interviews – Subscribe on YouTube!