Now I've Seen Everything
Now I've Seen Everything

10+ Celebrities Whose Special Needs Kids Filled Their Heart With Unconditional Love

The role of parenting is known for its challenges and that already tremendous job becomes even tougher when it comes to raising a child with special needs. But it can be just as rewarding. A few celebrities show how it is so by talking about their close relationships with their special kids.

1. Robert De Niro

Robert De Niro and Grace Hightower have a son, Elliot, and they like to keep his life private. But in 2016, they revealed that Elliot had been diagnosed with autism. They believe it is important that “all of the issues surrounding the causes of autism be openly discussed and examined.” De Niro says, “I don’t like to get emotional, but I know exactly what he goes through.”

Hightower and De Niro were determined to provide their son with a place where he could be appreciated and be himself, and tennis proved to be that place. “It has helped him socially to be more confident when he sees that he’s actually good at this,” De Niro explained while speaking about his son’s involvement in tennis. “He’s going to feel better about himself, so it’s a win-win for everybody.”

2. Caterina Scorsone

The Canadian-born Grey’s Anatomy star has a cute baby daughter named Paloma that is always present in the 39-year-old actress’ social media feed. Paloma was born with Down syndrome and since her birth in 2016, Caterina has become a prominent voice on social media for raising awareness about the condition.

In her interviews Caterina makes powerful statements about her daughter. She says: “Pippa is different. So are you and so am I. Pippa has needs that are specific to the way her body was made. I have needs that are specific to the way my body was made. We all do.” She confesses that she was scared at the beginning, as she didn’t know anything about this condition, but later she felt that Pippa’s difference lit a match in her life and in the life of her family.

3. Amanda Booth

Model, mom, and advocate Amanda Booth has been working to make a much-needed change in the media and fashion industries, thanks to inspiration from her son Micah, who has Down syndrome and autism. Amanda says she first started to notice this need when she went back to work after giving birth to Micah. “I started to notice when I would go out for things for work, that there would be babies at castings all the time. And I was like, ’Why isn’t anybody asking for my baby at these castings?’” she recalls.

Booth says one of her many favorite things about Micah is his ability to sense kind-heartedness in others. She calls him a barometer that brings out the kindness in everyone when he walks into a room. Amanda works really hard to help the world see a more diverse beauty, and she is not afraid to answer other people’s questions about her son’s condition. She says she is ready to explain why her kid is stimming or not behaving not like anybody else, and she does it willingly and for everyone who is interested.

4. Denise Richards

Denise Richards adopted Eloise not long after she was born. Later, she was diagnosed with a deletion in chromosome 8, which affected her development. For a long time, Eloise couldn’t sit up on her own, and she didn’t walk until she was 2 years old.

Denise doesn’t know whether she will be able to talk like a typical child, but she does her best to remain optimistic. “As a parent, you want what’s best for your children, and you just do it,” says Richards. Today, her “sweet little angel” as she refers to her, is 11 years old, loves life, and is always happy.

5. Sylvester Stallone

When someone hears the name Sylvester Stallone, they immediately think of Rocky: a tough man with an even tougher heart. Stallone’s son, Seargeoh, was diagnosed with autism at a very young age, and this is what his father had to say about it all; “We have to accept Seargeoh the way he is and understand that his way is just quieter and reserved.” Seargeoh appeared in Rocky 2, as Rocky’s newborn son.

6. Katie Price

Katie Price is a very successful and beautiful model, and she is also a mom. Her son, Harvey, was born in 2002 and he has been diagnosed with Autism, blindness, and Prader-Willi Syndrome. One of the biggest concerns with this condition is that the child lacks the ability to tell when they are full, so they keep eating. This can lead to obesity and type 2 diabetes, each having its own medical side effects.

But Katie has been overcoming all of the troubles and pitfalls together with her son, and now she proudly says on her Instagram: “I’ve watched you grow into a handsome man. My Harvey bear I love you, and wouldn’t change you for the world.”

7. John McGinley

The famous actor John McGinley has a son named Max who has Down syndrome, and he is actively involved in building awareness and being an advocate for people with Down syndrome. In 2011, John received the Foundation’s Quincy Jones Exceptional Advocacy Award for his work related to people with Down syndrome and people with developmental disabilities in general.

In an interview, he explains what it’s like to have a special needs child: “The first couple of months, it felt like we’d been hit over the head with some kind of cosmic hammer... And sooner or later you have to do something, you have to pick some aggressive verb about what you’re gonna do for this life. For Max. ’You gotta do something for me, get over your stuff, dad, I’m here.’”

8. Colin Farrell

Pikachu / MEGA / Mega Agency / East News

Who knew Hollywood’s bad boy was a father to a child with special needs? Colin Farrell’s son, James, suffers from a genetic condition called Angelman Syndrome. This condition can cause jerky movements. Colin has done a lot of work with the Foundation for Angelman Syndrome and says, “When you’re the parent of a child with special needs, it’s important to feel that you are not alone.” That is the reason he started working with the foundation.

9. Christopher Gorham

The Ugly Betty star Christopher Gorham has a son named Lucas who was diagnosed with Asperger’s syndrome around the age of 9. “It’s upsetting to hear that something is wrong with your child,” he said about the diagnosis. “At the same time, it’s a relief to know what’s wrong with your child because if you know what’s wrong then you can start to take steps to help them.”

Christopher noticed that his son was getting more and more distant from his peers in the second grade, and that’s when they had to face the diagnosis, and since then he and his wife have been busy with his therapy. Gorham says that he feels for all parents who have kids with special needs, as he’s been going through a lot of changes and stress. But he sees the positive side of this trial, as his wife, according to his words, turned out to be a real superhero in coping with this.

10. Gary Cole

Jordan Strauss / Invision / AP / East News

Actor Gary Cole first suspected that his daughter Mary was special when she was 2 years old. “She didn’t process information like you or I do, and did not pick up on social cues,” he says. She was diagnosed with autism, but has led a normal life. She was provided with therapy and help from a personal aide, which helped her to attend regular elementary and middle schools in California. Gary’s advice to parents who may have special children is: “Seek answers, and the earlier — the better.”

11. Jenny McCarthy

When Evan, her son, was first diagnosed with autism, Jenny McCarthy says he stopped speaking and began ignoring the world around him. Because, according to her, that’s what most autistic children do — they get locked inside themselves. However, she was determined to help him recover. So she began looking for treatments.

One of the things she did was to fix the family’s eating habits, she also tried video modeling and play therapy to teach him how to play with toys, and it turns out that her “warrior spirit” did indeed help Evan. According to Jenny, Evan has made great strides. “He’s doing amazing,” she says. “He’s considered recovered.”

Bonus: John Travolta

John’s son, Jett, was autistic and had a seizure disorder. He also suffered from Kawasaki disease — a condition that involves inflammation of the blood vessels.

Sadly, Jett passed away when he was 16 years old, but he still lives in his father’s heart and thoughts. He misses his son every day, and in his son’s memory, the actor created the Jett Travolta Foundation, a nonprofit organization for children with special needs.

Have you ever taken care of a special child?

Now I've Seen Everything/People/10+ Celebrities Whose Special Needs Kids Filled Their Heart With Unconditional Love
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