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right choice Keith Duffy reveals family's two-and-a-half-year struggle for daughter's autism diagnosis

“We didn't know what was going on, like most parents, we thought she might have had a hearing problem"


Keith Duffy. Photo: Ian West/PA

Keith Duffy. Photo: Ian West/PA

Keith Duffy. Photo: Ian West/PA

Keith Duffy has opened up about the painful struggle to get his daughter Mia correctly diagnosed with autism after being put on a two-and-a-half-year waiting list.

The former Boyzone star spoke to Cat Deeley on ITV’s Lorraine today about the long battle he and his wife Lisa endured to get Mia’s diagnosis.

He explained that the couple knew that something was wrong and had their daughter undergo multiple tests before they suspected she might be on the spectrum but were told that the waiting list for an autism diagnosis was two and half years long.

The singer shared: “We didn't know what was going on, like most parents, we thought she might have had a hearing problem. We got a hearing test done and that was fine. It takes you a while to kind of figure out what’s going on and we knew nothing at the time about autism. We hadn’t got a clue what we were even looking for.

“When she was around 18 months old, this word ‘autism’ kept coming into our lives and we were put on a waiting list for diagnosis for two and a half years. And yet, anyone you speak to will tell you that early intervention is essential for the future of any child that’s on the spectrum. So, a waiting list through the state of two and a half years just wasn’t going to happen for us.

“We were lucky enough to be in the position to be able to go private. So, we went private, we got a diagnosis but then everywhere we went, doors were closed in our face. Everybody said no, so we decided that we were never going to take no for an answer,” he continued.

The 46-year-old added that he believes that he made the right choice for his daughter, saying: “She was nonverbal until she was 6 or 7 and her vocabulary would be far more extensive than mine now. Early intervention and getting in there and not taking no for an answer is very important.”

Mia, now 21, is in her third year of university studying enterprise computing and is currently in her ninth week of an internship with an American company.

Proud dad Keith beamed that Mia is “doing wonderfully well” and added that her correct autism diagnosis has allowed for appropriate intervention to be made to make her education more accessible.

He said: “At the right time, we managed to get the appropriate tailored intervention, the appropriate tailored educational programme put into place for Mia. She responded very, very well. She’s managed to reach her full potential in life and she’s doing very, very well.

“So many children in our society today with autism on the autism spectrum are not getting the appropriate intervention, are not getting the appropriate education programme. In this day and age, that’s crazy.”

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