Toni Braxton And SheKnows Team Up

Grammy Award winning singer Toni Braxton has teamed up with SheKnows to bring awareness and raise money for a cause that is close to her heart: autism. Her 8-year-old son, Diezel, was diagnosed with the developmental disorder when he was a young child. She is now focused on raising money for Autism Speaks through the SheKnows Where the Other Sock Went campaign.

Toni Braxton and son DiezelThe autism diagnosis

Toni Braxton said she knew something was different about her son Diezel when he was just an infant. "As a mom, I knew something was different about him when he was probably about nine months old," she told Fox and Friends. "By the time he became a year and a half I said, 'He's not developing like his older brother.'"

The six-time Grammy Award winning singer said he was finally diagnosed with the developmental disorder autism when he was 3 years old -- and she admitted she had a hard time accepting the diagnosis.

"I felt sorry for myself for a long time and I blamed myself. I thought it was something I had done," she shared. "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.'"

She said that in addition to her friends, "was very beneficial" in helping her deal with the diagnosis. "I loved them at hello," she said.

In fact, SheKnows co-founder Nancy Price has a son diagnosed with autism and she has provided a wealth of information on early diagnosis, keeping your autistic child safe and tips on connecting with your child.

Check out autism signs and symptoms, qualities and quirks >>

"Early diagnosis makes a lifetime of difference," Braxton says. "We have him in occupational therapy, speech therapy, he's being mainstreamed [and] he's in public school, general ed. He does have his special ed therapies, but we are very, very lucky."

Also check out: Autism therapies - What educational and medical interventions are available? >>

Toni Braxton Autism SpeaksSheKnows Where the Other Sock Went campaign

"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," Braxton said. "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.'"

Project Runway All Stars' Michael Costello designed the one-shoulder gown using over 700 single socks that were donated and signed by celebrities. The custom-made sock dress was unveiled on Feb. 10, 2012, at New York Fashion Week.

"When SheKnows called me... I was all over it," Costello told People. "I love a challenge, and I just thought it was something that could be totally cool."

The advertising campaign will be shot by fashion photographer Nigel Barker and the sock dress will be auctioned this spring with all the proceeds to benefit Autism Speaks.

Find out more about SheKnows Where's The Other Sock? Campaign to benefit autism >>

More about autism

Signs of autism and everyday life with an autistic child
10 Things you should know about autism
Can food and special diets affect your child's autism?

Photo credit: Wenn (top); SheKnows (bottom)

Tags: aspergers developmental delays

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Comments on "How Toni Braxton is fighting son's autism"

Auntie CC February 20, 2014 | 10:52 PM

I am an Auntie to a very special little boy who I love with all my heart- he is now 8 years old, and touches everyones life of who he meets. It's amazing how his little body and spirit affects so many people. Thank you Toni for your dedication to this program.. and to the many others out there- they have so many awesome programs out there with great knowledge that hasn't always been available.. and last thing- for Sonya (posted on June 25th) I'm sorry but you need to loose your man- (If you haven't already) If any man is going to feel embaressed about my son - he can just hit the road.. My son is part of the package.. so if he has a problem with him.. then he will have a problem with momma bear- see ya! too many real men out there who would be there for you and your child in a heart beat.. You go girl... and to all of the parents with special children I give you praise.. it takes a special person with patience, love and knowledge.. hands up to you! Blessings! Keep up the great work!

lewis thompson January 14, 2014 | 9:20 PM

You do know that we all have something going on with us..but I want you guys to know that I so love you for your fight for kids your biggest fan don't stop.Toni your the best.

Toni December 30, 2013 | 10:15 AM

My Daughter has 2 autistic boys which are ages 6 and 7 she really needs help with medical and food.Thanks so much. Grandmama

Barbi February 06, 2013 | 1:09 PM

My son Johnny was diagnosed at age 3 with low-spectrum autism. He is now 8 years old and thankfully he has been able to get awesome teachers (public schools) AND has his speech and OT therapy at school...I feel alot of what has helped him is early intervention and lots of "extra" help at home. Good luck to Toni and her family and all of use with these extra special children!!!

Alee's Mom August 25, 2012 | 1:04 PM

I am just going through the begining stages with my daughter she's 2 and I am setting her up for her transition into school I am not happy about it but watching your son gives me hope. I have't recieved her official diagnosis but I will soon. Tomorrow well be attending our first walk to I will get to see other kids with Autism and meet some parents. I loved your article and my husband has lifted me up throughout this hole process because it has been difficult to accept. I see a few changes with her since her first therapy session and it's all I can ask for. I have three kids so all the help I can get I take trying to sit and teach Alee is hard with two sisters in her face but it also helps her learn to interact with other children. I am greatful for what your doing and your are a very strong woman, you have beautiful kids and keep spreading the word about not only Autism but with everything. God bless you and your Family! :)

Sonya June 25, 2012 | 5:46 PM

Hi Toni my son is 8 and Im a single mom I wanna know I have been seeing someone for 5 years and he loves me and my son ., but every time I ask when do u wanna get married he tells me I'm scared what will happen when ur son starts to get older and he throws a tantrum when's 12 or 15 what would u do and I don't know what to say back to him ? I'm I wasting my time ???

Kaila's mom February 17, 2012 | 5:15 PM

Thank you Toni and thank you sheknows for raising money for this important cause. I think it helps other moms going through this to feel like they have support.

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