Caroline Carswell, the founder of IrishDeafKids.ie was born profoundly deaf in Dublin, Ireland, but has been able to lead a normal life due to having good speech and lip-reading skills.
Caroline realised the amount of time invested by Irish parents in researching their deaf child’s condition and options. She saw that some parents may lack the ability to devote sufficient time to this endeavour before making decisions that will affect their child’s life. Parents and children could benefit from an online meeting place with peer support and idea sharing.
Caroline developed IrishDeafKids.ie on this premise. With this website she aims to promote inclusive education for deaf children at mainstream schools and enable parents to help their deaf child realize their full potential in Irish society.
IrishDeafKids.ie seeks to enable parents to make informed choices about their children’s’ education (whether to use speech or sign language, and to opt for mainstream or segregated schooling). It is a central resource for parents, teachers and educators of deaf children to network through message boards, share experiences, ideas, research and information. She also hopes the site can be used to raise governmental and public awareness of the challenges in educating deaf children and the need for funding.
Between 2007 and 2014 irishdeafkids.ie has achieved numerous successes. In 2010, IDK received Ireland’s eGovernment award (Education) for promoting cross-sector collaboration. In 2014 they published an academic paper in the Journal of Inclusive Practice, presented at the CESI conference and hosted the European Premiere of the ‘95 decibels’ film. They have received awards and campaigned for HSE policy changes, and provided workshops around Ireland.
The fundamental change that I want to see in Ireland is for deaf people to play a full role in mainstream society without hearing people feeling awkward because they don’t know how to communicate….In short, to access the same opportunities that their hearing peers do, and to be on an equal footing.