Caroline Carswell was born with profound sensorineural deafness in Dublin, Ireland, in the 1970s, and was identified as being deaf at 16 months old.
She is now an entrepreneur after 15 years in digital publishing, journalism and corporate IT marketing. The Irish Deaf Kids project began in July 2007.
- See Caroline coaching a group of teens at an IDK workshop
She currently sits on the sounding board of Kanchi, participates in enterprise networks and is a graduate of the Common Purpose civil leadership course.
One of Caroline’s earliest memories is of having a hearing test at Cabra. Every time she heard a sound, she had to put a figurine into a wooden boat.
Caroline’s assessments showed that a supported mainstream education was viable. This meant she wouldn’t have to travel to and from Cabra daily.
- TV3 met Caroline & Kate (Special Stories) in February 2010
Caroline’s parents enrolled her in a local primary school, already attended by 3 deaf pupils. All went to the same speech teacher in Harcourt Street.
Caroline finished primary school with the support of one hour’s speech class every weekday and a one-hour visiting teacher session per week.
The daily speech classes ceased at this time and Caroline found that behind-the-ear (BTE) hearing aids significantly boosted her residual hearing.
At the local secondary school, her weekly teaching supports were two hours’ extra maths, and a one-hour visiting teacher session, as at primary level.
Extra-curricular activities at this time included hockey, badminton and swimming, plus weekend & school holiday work at a local health-food store.
Caroline took the Leaving Cert on the same basis as her peers, with a view to reading History at Trinity College, Dublin, or taking a degree in the UK.
Trinity College (at the time) had no support for deaf students, but Caroline felt she would manage with self-motivation and help from fellow students.
While at university, she got involved with the student newspaper and the mountain club, and worked as an administrator in the Students’ Union.
For the summer vacations, she took out bank loans to work & travel in North America, where the equal opportunities and deaf awareness amazed her.
After graduating from Trinity College, Caroline took a publishing postgrad course at Oxford Brookes University (again, with no teaching support).
The publishing course led to a job at Oxford University Press that involved the output of journals on CD, on the Internet and in print, in one operation.
At the time, the Internet barely had 300 pages – compared with billions nowadays – and Caroline knew this was where her future career lay.
On her return to Ireland, she took an IT conversion course & worked for some years in corporate software marketing, before going out on her own.
In her spare time, she enjoys salsa dancing, socialising, hiking, walking her dog, adventure travel and discussing novels with a local book-club.
She has also taught English to Spanish-speaking street children at a refuge in Argentina (2006) and joined a Red Cross humanitarian trip to benefit three orphanages in the former Soviet state of Georgia (2006).