Sat at night crying’ Coronation Street star opens up daughter’s autism diagnosis

GMB: Keith Duffy hangs up on Lorraine during interview

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The Boyzone star has opened up about the struggles they faced as a family when his daughter Tia, who is now 22, was diagnosed with autism. Keith, who is married to Lisa Smith, also has son Jordan. In an exclusive interview with, the former Coronation Street star admitted it was difficult to watch their son develop, while their daughter didn’t speak until she was six years old.

The 47-year-old said he was sitting on the edge of his bed at night crying because of the devastation he felt for Mia.

“At the time, we knew there was something quite not right with our daughter Mia,” Keith began.

“She had kind of traits that were slightly worrying and confusing for us and we didn’t really quite know what we were dealing with.

“We had never really heard the word autism before, we didn’t really know what autism was, and so I never even for a second thought that she might have autism.”

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The pop star went on to explain from that point, he sought to getting his daughter diagnosed.

However, he quickly realised there was a three-year waiting list with the NHS to get an autism diagnosis.

“I didn’t leave any stone unturned,” Keith admitted. “I kind of fought my way around.

“I got to know various people in different offices and you know, I kind of bullied my way around.”

The dad-of-two admitted it was a “living nightmare” for his family while they waited for a diagnosis.

He went on to add he and Lisa also had worries over whether Mia would talk at all.

He said: “There’s nothing worse when you have an older child, and your older child typically is developing like any other child and this other child is so far behind with certain things.

“I was distraught, sitting at night at the end of my bed crying my eyes out wondering what the hell I’m gonna do.”

“How can I help my daughter?” he added. “You know, nobody’s jumping out of the way to help me here.

“I need to sort this out myself. So what am I going to do? What am I prepared to do? And you’re prepared to do anything.”

Keith explained there is a lot more out there for children being diagnosed with autism nowadays.

The singer, who has teamed up with ZURU Toys in a new campaign, said there are so many toys available for children diagnosed with autism.

“We didn’t have these toys [back then] that kind of calm our kids down and give them a little bit of tranquil time out of the crazy world that we all live in,” Keith said.

“Tablets and iPads are very, very important. An iPad is an essential item because there are apps now that help to get their speech started.

“It’s interesting to the child, and the child enjoys playing the game, and so it’s not like they’re being forced to learn.

“They’re learning through playtime which is part of the whole campaign, which ZULU Toys are trying to push.”

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