Actress, activist Holly Robinson Peete and her twins are Auditorium Speakers at 2016 ALA Annual Conference

Thu, 02/11/2016


Amy McGuigan
Conference Manager
ALA Conference Services

Actress, author, talk show host, activist, and philanthropist Holly Robinson Peete has devoted her life and career to autism awareness. Most recently she has co-authored the timely young adult novel Same But Different: Teen Life on the Autism Express with her 18-year-old twins Ryan Elizabeth and RJ, addressing the challenges and triumphs of being a teen living with autism and the effects on family, school, friends and life. Ryan Elizabeth and RJ will join their mother in this Auditorium Speaker program at the 2016 ALA Annual Conference and Exhibition on Monday, June 27th, 10:30-11:30 am.

Through alternating fictional narratives based on their own lives, Ryan Elizabeth and RJ, who has autism, reveal honestly what it means to be a teen living with autism. Same But Different explores the funny, painful, and unexpected aspects of teen autism while daring to address issues not usually talked about, underscoring tolerance, love, and the understanding that everybody’s unique drumbeat is worth dancing to.

Since 2000, when Peete learned of RJ’s autism diagnosis, she has worked tirelessly to help families everywhere who are raising children with autism. With her husband, former NFL quarterback Rodney Peete, she founded the HollyRod Foundation, dedicated to offering help through compassionate care to families living with autism and Parkinson’s disease. Her picture book about living with autism, My Brother Charlie, co-written with Ryan Elizabeth and illustrated by Shane Evans, received an NAACP Image Award.

Ryan Elizabeth Peete is a college student and avid world traveler who has devoted herself to advocacy for children with special needs. Rodney Jackson Peete, “RJ,” serves as a mentor at the Los Angeles Speech and Language Therapy Center, where he provides support and help to young people like himself on the autism spectrum. The Peetes invite viewers into their bustling family life in the docuseries For Peete’s Sake, premieres on OWN, the Oprah Winfrey Network, on March 19, 2016.

The Peetes’ appearance at the conference is sponsored by Scholastic.

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