'Never take no for an answer' - Keith Duffy shares pride at daughter Mia's school graduation
Keith Duffy says he is the "proudest papa in the world" after his 18-year-old daughter Mia graduated from secondary school.
The former Boyzone singer (43) and his wife Lisa were front and centre to see their daughter's big day, which was particularly poignant given how vocal they have been about overcoming obstacles in Mia's education after she was diagnosed with autism when she was 18 months old.
Mia was non-verbal until she was seven years old. They made the decision to send her to a mainstream school as a teenager and on Sunday night, she was honoured alongside her Loreto College classmates at their graduation ceremony.
"Miracles do happen! Never take no for an answer! She did go to school, she did overcome every obstacle," Keith wrote in a lengthy post on Instagram.
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Miracles do happen ! Never take No for an answer ! She did go to school she did overcome every obstacle She took the blows and and she did fight forward ! Thank you Loreto college Swords You’ve been Amazing ! She graduates and is awarded Student of the year ! I’m the proudest Papa in the world 😍#Autism #oportunity #nevertakenoforananswer #believe Ps. My sincerest gratitude to @Emirates and Jade from Emirates for getting me home just in time ! And that Dublin taxi driver your a legend ! Shame Emirates Car service nearly ruined the night !
"She took the blows and and she did fight forward! Thank you Loreto college Swords you’ve been Amazing!"
Mia enjoyed a special moment in the spotlight last night as she was also given the Student of the Year award.
The Duffys have become vocal advocates for autism, setting up the Keith Duffy Foundation in 2013 after years of working with Irish Autism Action. Last year, he took part in a documentary called Let Me In and said one of the most difficult but progressive things a parent of a child with autism can do is to "stop mourning" the child they thought they had.
"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 and start embracing the child that they have," he said.
"When they decide to do that, the world becomes a brighter place and every kind of success the child has becomes a celebration."
"My daughter has shown me a side of myself that I much more prefer than the person I was before I had her."