Holly Robinson Peete
How would you recommend families use the book to help understand the impact of an autistic family member or friend?
"My Brother Charlie" is about love, acceptance and how valuable all children with special needs are. It is our hope that it will become a staple in school libraries across the nation, and will tear away the social stigma of autism much like Jamie Lee Curtis' books did for the subject of adoption.
Are there follow-up books planned?
We have another book in the works with Scholastic about our family trip to South Africa and Ryan's beautiful connection with a young girl there. But we hope to continue with more Charlie books - maybe one where Charlie goes to middle school and experiences adolescence - not an easy walk for many of these children.
How do you feel your experience on The Celebrity Apprentice has helped raise awareness for the HollyRod Foundation?
The only reason I stopped my life and left my family for so long was to shine a bright light on the financial struggles of many U.S. families affected by autism. CA was not an easy experience by any stretch of the imagination but I felt it was necessary.
You won quite a bit of money for your charity during the season. Is it earmarked for any specific projects or programs?
I can't think of anything more tragic than having a child with special needs and not being able to afford to help him. The money I raised on CA is already out in the community working, so hundreds of families won't have to decide between paying their rent or utilities and paying out of pocket for services for their child. We funded social skills camps, speech, and occupational and other therapies for families. We also seeded a capital campaign to build a HollyRod Autism Compassionate Care Center in Los Angeles where we will aid underserved families who struggle to access treatment and services.