"He’s doing all these things that I was told he would never do."

Not everyone’s brain works the same! For some people, it’s discovered that they are neurodivergent — or their brain processes, learns or behaves differently than others. That means they may have different strengths or face different challenges from the people around them. Although there aren’t any medical criteria for what it means to be neurodivergent, the term encompasses numerous conditions including autism spectrum disorder, Tourette syndrome and dyslexia.

An estimated 15 to 20 percent of the world’s population exhibits some form of neurodivergence, meaning millions of people fall under the umbrella term. That’s why some celebrities believe it’s important to be open about how neurodivergence affects their families. While some stars are neurodivergent themselves, others are raising children who are. In order to advocate for their little ones, these stars have gotten candid about the highs and lows of raising their neurodivergent child — and have made sure to celebrate their accomplishments along the way.

Read on to find out what these stars had to share about their children…

1. Jenny McCarthy

Jenny McCarthy learned her son Evan had autism when he was just two years old following several medical emergencies. After suffering a seizure that caused his heart to stop, Evan finally got the diagnosis from a doctor. Since then, Jenny has dedicated her life to advocating for children with autism. Although she has been met with some criticism for her controversial opinion about vaccines, Jenny says she has helped her son minimize the impacts of autism through strict diet change, vitamins and supplements.

Nowadays, Jenny says Evan is “very independent” and she’s happy to spend her time advocating for other children and families navigating autism.

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2. Holly Robinson Peete

Holly Robinson Peete’s son RJ was diagnosed with autism when he was two years old and over the course of the next few years, she invested $500,000 in treatments to help him. She says they finally found what worked for RJ and he improved drastically. By the time he was nine, he was in a mainstream school and was able to fully communicate with family and friends.

Now as an adult, Holly says she is in awe of all the things RJ has been able to accomplish that others told him he would never be able to do. As a clubhouse attendant for the Los Angeles Dodgers, he has his “dream job” and a “dugout full of friends.”

“When I look back and see RJ, this strapping young man who’s 20 and has a job — he’s doing all these things that I was told he would never do. It really makes you emotional, because I can’t believe he’s come so far, and I’m still so blessed,” Holly told People.

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3. Rosie O’Donnell

When Rosie O’Donnell’s daughter Dakota was diagnosed with autism at age two in 2016, she says she was fearful for the future. But as she’s gone on to watch Dakota grow up, she says the little girl has changed her whole perspective on life.

“With Dakota, I am learning to have compassion much deeper than I ever did. To really listen and communicate in a way I never had to with my other kids. I know there are people struggling and they don’t know how they will get through another day. And I understand. But the sense of vulnerability that comes with having a kid with autism has been a gift to me. She teaches me…Dakota’s autism forces me to see the world from a completely different place. She’s a gift from another dimension…To be able to see the world as she does — for me, it’s been a wonderfully magical experience. I’m so glad we have each other,” Rosie wrote.

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4. Caterina Scorsone

Caterina Scorsone’s daughter Pippa was born with Down syndrome and she says when she first got the diagnosis, she was scared. But now years later, Pippa and the disability community have completely changed her outlook. She believes that “the birth of a baby with Down syndrome is something to be celebrated rather than feared.”

“There is no standard, objective, perfect human being. The metrics of perfection are arbitrary and imposed in the service of those who fit them. My daughter is perfect. Exactly the way she is. Pippa is perfect exactly as she is. So are you, and so am I. The only way we lose sight of that perfection is to look for it somewhere else,” Caterina said.

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5. Jacqueline Laurita

Jacqueline Laurita opened up about her son Nicholas’ autism diagnosis back in 2012 while she was starring on “The Real Housewives of New Jersey.” She admits that it’s been “extremely difficult” to watch him struggle with things that come easily to other children through the years but she’s glad she could share their journey with other families going through the same thing.

“What I’ve learned is that my child always has the ability to learn more, even if it’s at a different pace than a typical child. Anytime I feel Nicholas is not progressing fast enough, I remind myself of how far he has actually progressed from where he started, and that gives me hope for the future. I know that right now, Nicholas is loving and brilliant! He has an incredible memory, amazing sense of humor and a light within him that shines through with loving energy. He brings so much joy to my life and our family. It may not have been the childhood I had originally imagined for him, but it has been just as wonderful seeing him learn, grow and evolve. We celebrate every new word spoken and new skill attempted and/or mastered!” Jacqueline shared on Instagram.

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6. Colin Farrell

When Colin Farrell’s son James was a toddler, he was diagnosed with a rare genetic condition called Angelman syndrome. The developmental disability affects the body’s nervous system and can cause movement issues as well as speech impairment, seizures and sleep problems. Colin says learning of James’ diagnosis made him want to be a better person and after a trip to rehab, the actor has been present to watch James reach many important milestones.

“Things like walking and talking and eating and feeding himself, all those things that so many of us naturally take for granted because they come so easily, to James, they come somewhat harder. Everything he’s achieved in his life has come through the presence and the kind of will that is hard work. He’s a lot to be inspired by,” Colin shared with People.

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7. Denise Richards

Denise Richards adopted her daughter Eloise when she was just an infant but it wouldn’t be for several years that the little girl was diagnosed with a chromosomal disorder. Denise says she first realized something was different about Eloise when she wasn’t reaching typical milestones for babies. Since being diagnosed with a deletion in chromosome 8, Denise says Eloise has dealt with “a lot of developmental delays” and now at age 10, only speaks about 12 words. Unfortunately, there’s “no road map” for Eloise’s case, so Denise says she takes everything day by day with her.

“This is all we know with her. So, we’ve grown with her since she was a baby. But she’s a sweet little angel and the happiest little girl and the littlest things make her so happy,” Denise recently told Parents.com, adding Eloise has a special connection with animals. “She communicates in other ways with our animals. It is so sweet and so special to see that relationship.”

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