Toni Braxton Talks Autism Awareness

Toni Braxton is campaigning for autism awareness with a little help from one of her favorite websites, SheKnows! See how her son's autism diagnosis turned her life upside down, and how education for both her and her little man have helped both of them deal.

Toni Braxton Diezel

Toni Braxton's life was turned upside down when her son was diagnosed with autism -- but now thanks to early diagnosis and therapies he is learning to live, love and play just like any other little boy.

"My youngest son Diezel suffers from autism and he was diagnosed when he was three," Braxton told Fox and Friends. "He's eight now so it has been a long road, a long struggle. As a mom I knew something was different about him when he was probably nine months old. By the time he became a year and a half I thought 'He's not developing like his older brother.' It was inconclusive, and finally at three they said, 'Yes, he's autistic.'"

Safety tips for kids with autism >>

"After, I felt sorry for myself for a long time and I blamed myself -- I thought it was something I had done -- friends came to me, that are like me, and said 'Okay, you're not a victim, our babies are great, they're fine, get him into these therapies and wonderful websites like SheKnows, which was very beneficial to me,' to help me. It's a wide-spread website called SheKnows. Just click on it, anything from women, home, care, babies, food, anything you can think of and it's very widespread and autism is something they're very involved in so I love them."

Braxton explained how the SheKnows Where's the Other Sock? campaign is helping raise autism awareness so other families can have the same helpful experience she has had since the diagnosis.

The basics of autism: An overview >>

"It's a wonderful idea. I mean, we all have washers and dryers at home in America but there is a sock monster in every dryer," she explained. "So we went to the sock monster and said, 'Okay guys, let's do a deal. Give us the socks back, let us do something for charity, make this wonderful dress.' And the designer, Mr. Costello, that's what I call him, he came up with this wonderful idea to make this dress out of socks! It's like over 1000 socks that we got from the dryer monster."

Because of sites like SheKnows and a heightened public awareness of autism, Braxton's son is doing great now.

"He's doing well. Very lucky," she said. "Because I can tell you, after we found out, I can tell you early diagnosis makes a lifetime of difference. We have him in occupational therapy, speech therapy, he's being mainstreamed -- he's in public school, general ed -- he does have his special ed therapies, but we are very, very lucky. With a long road though, a lot of hard work, a long way to go."

Watch Toni Braxton talk about the SheKnows Where's the Other Sock campaign:

Image courtesy Adriana M. Barraza / WENN.com

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Comments on "Toni Braxton on autistic son: I knew he was different"

James Kane February 04, 2014 | 8:51 AM

Toni, your an inspiration to me I have a 28 year old Autistic son and he IS PERFECT to me he's just Autistic I worry about him when my ex-wife and I are gone my oldest son pledges to take care of him and his wife to be says the same HOPE so I love him so much that when he comes on the weekend he sits on the love seat across the room he smiles at and tears come to my eyes I would switch places with him if I could your my hero too

margie brown June 09, 2013 | 7:05 PM

I was just told what I already knew which was my son has ASD. I'm so relieved to have a ray of hope from not only parents who are going the the same struggle but also offer support

Thays Spierto February 12, 2012 | 6:22 AM

I also knew that my son was different..now diasnosticado with asperger's... very proud of him.

Kyle February 09, 2012 | 2:32 PM

Toni thank you so much for joining forces with us! Can't wait to show everyone how beautiful you looked in the dress that Michael made! Nigel's photos look great!!

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