Keith Duffy has spoken openly about his daughter’s autism in a moving TV documentary called Let Me In, which focuses on autistic children around the world. The Boyzone star is married to wife Lisa and the couple have two children, Mia, 17 and Jay, 21. In the programme, Keith, 42, speaks about his daughter Mia, who was first diagnosed with the condition at just 18 months. The actor revealed that while coping with the disability can be very difficult, it is important to embrace your child. Keith says on the show: “One of the most important steps for a parent of a child with autism is to stop mourning the child that they thought they had and start embracing the child that they have.” He continued: “Every day you have a realisation that you’re going to have a child with a lifelong disability is absolutely horrifying. It’s so frustrating, horrifying, upsetting. But you have to try and find the positive.”
Talking about his daughter Mia, he explained: “She started to become more a part of our world in small ways, she would start to take you by the hand when she needed something and push your hand into whether it was in the direction of the cupboard or the fridge. That was brilliant because it meant that we were moving in the right direction.” Keith spoke about the diagnosis, saying: “The earlier you can diagnose a child with autism the earlier you can put in place an intervention plan and I think that’s fantastic. To make it 11 is an absolute disgrace. Every individual is important. And to leave an individual with a disability like autism to be un-intervened until the age of 11 is just wrong. You have to undo so many things to then put in place what needs to be done.”
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Back in 2014, in an interview with the Mirror, Keith spoke about the impact that raising an autistic child had on his marriage to wife Lisa. "A lot of couples break up and there were certain points it was very tough. Thank God we stuck together, got through the hard times and are still together." Keith, who has dedicated a great deal of time to raising money and awareness of autism, said he and Lisa first noticed Mia behaved differently to other children during a trip to Disneyland when she was one. But it was only when he was invited to a benefit for the education of children with autism that he recognised the same symptoms in his daughter.