Colin Farrell has revealed that his 4-year-old son James suffers from a rare neuro-genetic disorder called Angelman Syndrome – but that he’s a brave and happy child.
“The only time I’m reminded that there is something different about him – that he has some deviation of what is perceived to be normal – is when I see him with other 4-year-olds. Then I go, ‘Oh yeah,’ and it comes back to me,” Farrell tells the Irish Independent. “But from day one I felt that he’s the way he’s meant to be.”
Colin, 31, says James shows “amazing courage,” and adds: “I’m incredibly blessed to have him in my life.”
Colin shares custody of James with ex-girlfriend Kim Bordenave, the boy’s mother – whom Colin credits with helping James get the help he needs. Their son’s early years have been a struggle, Colin says, but recently the family enjoyed a major breakthrough.
“He took his first steps about six weeks ago, and it was four years in the making,” Colin says. “It was incredibly emotional. There wasn’t a dry eye in the house.”
Angelman Syndrome is characterized by developmental delay, speech impairment, movement or balance disorder, excessive laughter and even seizures, according to the Angelman Syndrome Foundation. Children who have the disorder are often not diagnosed until they are between 3 and 7 years old.
But Colin refuses to characterize the condition as a disability.
“I have never thought of my son as being someone with a disability,” he says. “It goes back to special needs and what is a disability and what isn’t.”
Coincidentally, Colin helped promote the Special Olympics before his son’s diagnosis. “I experienced the overwhelming effect of being around those athletes pretty much just before my son was born,” says Colin. “It’s mad the way the world works.”
I admit that I had never heard of Angelman Sydrome. Here is a link to The Angelman Sydrome Foundation.
Best wishes to Colin and his family.