Hallmark’s Christmas Lineup Will Characteristic a Character with Autism for the First Time
Lots of people look forward to Hallmark’s Christmas films every year. It will be a little more inclusive in 2021.
For the first time, one of Hallmark’s vacation films will feature a character from the autism spectrum. The Christmas Bond tells the story of a single mother and her teenage son with autism. The two come to a crossroads at Christmas, and the mother “has to learn to let go so it can thrive and heal her own heart in unexpected ways,” reads a storyline.
The stars of the film are Holly Robinson Peete, whose son RJ has autism, and Nik Sanchez, who is also on the spectrum.
In an Instagram post, Peete said, “I dedicate this film to my son RJ and others with autism and their families. I am grateful to @hallmarkchannel for bringing this story to the screen with authenticity, respect and hope. “
RJ, now 23, was diagnosed with autism at the age of two. Peete and her husband have been advocating the autism community ever since, particularly through their HollyRod Foundation. It provides support and resources for families with children in the spectrum.
Peete also spoke about RJ’s diagnosis in a 2007 interview with People, which she thought was before many people really started talking about autism awareness. In this interview she talked about how difficult things were at first and the progress RJ had made.
In 2018, she spoke to People again about the impact of the article.
She said, “I remember this family came to us at Disneyland after the article was published and they had two daughters with autism and they said it made them feel more hopeful. I started crying because that’s why we did this. When RJ was diagnosed, we didn’t have something like that as a model. “
She also raved about her son, saying that he did all of these things that she was told he couldn’t do. He had also got his “dream job” as a clubhouse attendant with the Los Angeles Dodgers.
For his part, Nik Sanchez also shared how lucky he was to be on The Christmas Bond.
In an Instagram post, he said, “I’m so excited to be a part of this movie! I can’t wait for everyone to see it! It’s going to be incredible! “
The film will be released as part of Hallmark’s “Miracles of the Christmas Season” at the end of this year.