The Mighty Logo

7 Colin Farrell Quotes Parents of a Child With a Disability Should Hear

The most helpful emails in health
Browse our free newsletters

Colin Farrell is one of my favorite on screen actors. I’ll never forget his character portrayals in “In Bruges” and “Saving Mr. Banks.” I didn’t realize his real life role as “dad” would be even more unforgettable.

I was lucky to see him in person as the featured guest at Gatepath’s 2017 Power of Possibilities event. From early intervention to job training for adults and seniors, Gatepath is a role model for “turning disabilities into possibilities.” Every year they bring the community together for an evening that shines a light on how our differences are what make us beautiful. We must work together to help those with differences flourish.

Colin shared his personal story of what it means to raise a child who is living and thriving with a developmental disability. His son, James, was diagnosed with Angelman syndrome (AS). AS is a rare genetic disorder that occurs in 1 in 15,000 children. It’s often misdiagnosed as cerebral palsy or autism.

I sat in awe of this charming, witty, Hollywood star who at heart is just a dad who wants both of his sons to experience life to their fullest potentials. Here are seven of my favorite Colin quotes and the messages I took from them:

“When I heard that word ‘cure’ at first I was kind of insulted, almost irate, as though they were judging my son, that he wasn’t he wasn’t exactly right, but he is exactly the way he’s supposed to be. He’s a magic, magic boy.”

Don’t let others’ judgment take away your child’s magic.

“He works so hard and milestones will be achieved throughout his life. When you’re told your child will ‘never’ do something and they do…now that’s an unbelievable experience. When my son walked at 4, it was a result of his hard work and drive. He has a desire to experience life, just like us, to touch it, to feel it, to sense it, to communicate it to others.”

Never let anyone say “never” when it comes to your child’s abilities.

“Be careful of judging what your child is capable of. You have to watch your child and give him every opportunity to see how they respond. Let your child decide what his limitations are.”

Never let yourself judge what your child is capable of achieving.

“He may not be able to verbally communicate, but this kid has it all going on… he thinks, he feels, he knows exactly what’s happening, and he’s got a voice. And that voice is inside of him and I have to find some way that will allow him to let it out.”

Don’t doubt that your child has a voice… It’s up to you to hear it.

“By virtue of his honesty, struggle, persistence and his personality, James brings out the best in people. He literally saved my life. I was on a destructive path. When I couldn’t make the changes in my life for myself, I made them for James. He gave me the reason to be a better man and father.”

Your child will bring out the best in you.

“James wants the same things we all do. He just wants to be part of the community. He wants to feel welcome and involved. He wants to give and feel love. He wants to play his part. He wants to contribute and add not only to his life, but the lives of others.”

Your child will make a difference if only given a chance to contribute.

“When those with special needs are rightfully given the same opportunities as the rest of us,
then the impossible becomes possible and each individual’s endeavor takes center stage. We then see ability instead of disability in every single person and we arrive at the solidarity of acceptance, respect and inclusion.”

Anything is possible when we open the doors of opportunity for all.

At the very end of the conversation, Colin made it clear that it’s time for Hollywood to get on the inclusion bandwagon and give more consideration to those with disabilities. He had the same message for the business world, saying “It’s not charity, but a smart business move.” I couldn’t agree more!

Please join Colin Ferrell, Gatepath and Geek Club Books in our commitment to create an inclusive world of acceptance, respect and compassion. Sign the “Pledge for Inclusion” today and let your voice be heard!

We want to hear your story. Become a Mighty contributor here.

Originally published: May 2, 2017
Want more of The Mighty?
You can find even more stories on our Home page. There, you’ll also find thoughts and questions by our community.
Take Me Home