Colin Farrell says his 7-year-old son James is fascinated with water – and it helped doctors correctly diagnose the youngster with a neuro-genetic condition called Angelman syndrome. “James is kind of obsessed with water,” Colin said in an interview on the Ellen De Generes Show that aired Friday. “He’s not a great swimmer but he just loves being close to it and in and around it. It’s one of the characteristics of the condition that he has.”
The Crazy Heart actor revealed that doctors initially misdiagnosed James with cerebral palsy, but his love for water made one medical expert take a closer look.
“The doctor saw him one day and said, ‘Is he always this happy…and does he always kind of flap his arms like that?'” Colin recalled. “And we said, ‘Yes’. And he said, ‘And how does he feel about water?’ and we said, ‘Oh, water’s fascinating (to him)’.
“He went, ‘Has he been tested for Angelman Syndrome?’ We didn’t know what that was.”
Colin said that while a fascination with water is one of the symptoms of AS, it also has a calming effect on his son. “If James gets upset at home I can get a pot and put some water in it. It’s really beautiful because water is such a pure element… there’s something really profound about it,” he explained.
By speaking about his son’s rare condition, Colin feels he has helped the parents of other children with the syndrome. “When I first spoke about it, which was about five years ago, a lot of people got their children correctly diagnosed as a result of just this little interview I did with an Irish newspaper.”