Singer and ex-Coronation Street actor Keith Duffy has revealed on Irish Radio he’s ‘over the moon’ that his teenage daughter has received fantastic grades for her Junior Cert exams – taken in Ireland by 13 to 15 year-olds.
Mia was diagnosed as having autism at 18 months and Keith admits he never expected her to attend mainstream school or take state exams.
When Mia was young she had little interest in interacting or making eye contact with people and Keith admits that he and his wife Lisa found her autistic behaviour difficult to cope with.
“She spent a lot of time in her bedroom under her bed with a blanket over her head. We were quite a young family, it was so scary – we didn’t know what to do.”
Keith admits he didn’t know how well Mia would do in her exams. “We had no idea what to expect when the results came out,” Keith told listeners of the Ray D’Arcy Show on RTE’s Radio 1. Mia got 8 honours – honours being the higher level exams and Keith’s delighted wife Lisa tweeted the news with a photo of Mia.
“She could have come out with 5 or 6 Es,” explains Keith, “and I would have been just as proud of her to be honest. But the fact that she did as well as she did was just unbelievable.”
The former Boyzone singer and and his wife have actively worked to raise awareness of autism since Mia was born, and last year he received an honorary scholarship from the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland for his charitable work.