“THE TALK” RECOGNIZES AUTISM AWARENESS MONTH WITH HOST AND ACCLAIMED AUTISM ADVOCATE HOLLY ROBINSON PEETE LEADING THE WAY

In recognition of Autism Awareness Month, CBS’s THE TALK will dedicate four Friday shows to the cause throughout April with host Holly Robinson Peete leading the way.

When their son RJ was diagnosed with autism in 2000 at the age of 3, Holly and her husband, former NFL quarterback Rodney Peete, found their world turned upside down. They weathered a challenging personal storm and then decided to share their story to provide hope to other families. Through their HollyRod Foundation, which focuses on improving the lives of children with autism, Robinson Peete has become an advocate for consistent and reliable education, outreach and support of families affected by autism.

Each Friday in April, Robinson Peete will share her personal story that has propelled her to become one of the most acclaimed autism advocates in the world today. Joined by family members, fellow advocates as well as teens and adults with autism, Robinson Peete will continue her mission to shed light on and spread the word about the issues affecting families touched by autism.

THE TALK’s Autism Awareness month highlights include the following:

Friday, April 1: THE TALK joins the “Light It Up Blue” movement by lighting the stage blue to commemorate World Autism Awareness Day. Robinson Peete will discuss the “never day” when she was told by a doctor all the things her son would “never” do, including speak. Since then, she has made every day her own personal “never day” by committing to the fact that she will never believe the limitations others wanted to put on her son and family. Now, Robinson Peete always looks to possibility and promise. Her son, RJ, recently won a national award for his autism advocacy and gave an eloquent acceptance speech. He is also active in sports and shares rich friendships.

In addition, Peter Bell, Executive Vice President of Autism Speaks, will join Robinson Peete along with members of the Peete family. Robinson Peete and her daughter, Ryan, won the 2011 Image Award for Literature for their moving children’s book, “My Brother Charlie,” which tells the story of a sister’s relationship with her twin brother who has autism. The studio audience will receive copies of the award-winning book.

Friday, April 8: THE TALK focuses on fathers of children with autism. Sometimes called the “forgotten parents,” this show explores how fathers process an autism diagnosis differently, resulting in marital discord. Holly Robinson Peete’s husband, former NFL QB Rodney Peete, author of “NOT MY BOY, A Father, A Son and One Family’s Journey With Autism,” joins the show to lead the conversation with fathers whose children have been diagnosed with autism.

Friday April 15: THE TALK profiles inspiring stories of teens living with autism, including 16-year-old Carly Fleischmann. Although Carly can’t speak, this incredible young woman has a lot to say. She tirelessly advocates for others with autism by communicating her feelings and emotions on an iPad with revolutionary apps such as proloquo2go, using her inspirational Web site and blogs to “speak” to the world.

Friday, April 22: What happens when children with autism grow up? THE TALK highlights a new “Transition Tool Kit” created by Autism Speaks to help families and their adolescents with autism navigate the challenging transition into adulthood. THE TALK will also explore how our airports, businesses, law enforcement and communities can improve how we interface with those living with autism. Peter Bell from Autism Speaks joins the show along with two contestants from “The Amazing Race” with autism, Justin Kanew and Zev Glassenberg. Jason “J Mac” MacElwain, a 23-year-old with autism who is an assistant high school basketball coach, also joins the show. Five years ago, MacElwain became a celebrity in his own right when he played for four minutes in a high school game and scored a remarkable 20 points for his team, a story that was featured on ESPN and went viral on the Internet. In addition to coaching and inspiring kids, he currently works at a grocery store and busses tables on the weekends.

THE TALK, CBS’s new daily daytime talk show that examines topical events and contemporary issues through the eyes of five female hosts who are all mothers, airs weekdays (2:00-3:00 PM, ET; 1:00-2:00 PM, PT). THE TALK is hosted by Julie Chen, Sara Gilbert, Sharon Osbourne, Holly Robinson Peete and Leah Remini. Brad Bessey, Gilbert, who developed the show, and John Redmann are executive producers.

Official CBS Web site

Official HollyRod Web site