Caroline Goldsmith is a Psychologist in private practice in Ireland…with vast years of experience in the mental health field (20 as a professional). Caroline has a special interest in Autism Diagnosis and Intervention. A graduate of the Open University and University of East London she has also studied with Trinity College Dublin (training using ADOS in the clinical setting), University of North Carolina, CMIT Institute Dublin and The National Academy of Neuropsychology USA . Caroline specialises in Autism assessment, diagnosis and intervention being a practitioner, researcher and trainer.
In 2012 Caroline founded Ireland’s first multidisciplinary forensic science society and is currently Director. Although still in a fledgling state the society hopes to grow as a public and professional resource to access practitioners, courses and research for all forensic sciences in Ireland.
Autism assessment and intervention is almost unrecognisable from the time when Caroline Goldsmith started out in the field with parents. The aim was searching and trying to help other parents. “I remember when there were no set protocols and we were all scrabbling around in the dark trying to make sense of how to raise the children.” Said Caroline. ” I would go along with the Mothers for ‘assessments’ comprised of no more than a narration on Kanner’s Autism in the office of a psychiatrist for 5- 15 minutes. Followed by the receiving of a ‘letter’ stating the diagnosis.” They were then expected to either give the children up to an institution, or go away and not return, because nothing else was offered.
Autism and News from Abroad
There were great ideas coming from the USA, and other parts of the world driven by the new parents movements. No internet back then and we only had our eagerly awaited monthly newsletters coming by post, we clung onto every word. We were introduced to the writing of Lorna Wing, Bernard Rimland and Hans Asperger. The papers changed hands like illegal underground documents being passed by spies! The research and the ideas we as parents were reading about felt very subversive, compared to the set in stone hopeless opinions heard in doctors offices! We were learning so much, often confirming what we saw in our children. Most especially we knew they were there, but didn’t know how to communicate with them. Said Caroline “In my practice I was using a variety of approaches for different children and very early on realised the condition was far from a one size fits all”
Caroline Goldsmith and parents like her pioneered the assessment protocols, that would later become the standard practice for Autism Assessment
said Caroline “We were looking at how the kids behaved at home, what they were like in the playgrounds, parks and drop-in centres. Realising that observing the kids doing different things was an invaluable source of information. That later became what the ADOS (Autism Diagnostic Observation Schedule) was all about”
said Caroline “We didn’t know if we were getting it right but we knew it couldn’t be any more wrong than what we were being told!”
Put the children away and forget about them….
Many parents were told to put the children into institutions, forget about them and go away and have more. Told the children would never have any connection to people and didn’t know emotions, so it was not going to harm them in any way. We were told they were incapable of feeling emotions and much less attachment. How wrong they were and we knew it even back then.
Neurodiversity and the old parents movements…
Most parents didn’t listen, they were Mothers after all. Then and now the parents groups are the people carving out the future of this condition, affecting how the world views these amazing children. We have come up through the ranks of searching for treatments and cures, therapies and interventions. We wanted to help them and that was how we thought we could. At no time did we want to give away our children, change their personalities or annihilate them. All things which Autism parents have been accused of from the ranks of those who are now jumping on the bandwagon of the neurodiversity movement. We laid the foundations and carved out that path. We fought for rights, funding. therapy provision and understanding and acceptance. Parents are not the enemy they are often portrayed as, while still having much to learn from their adult children, some of whom have children of their own.
Click on the links below to find out more about… Caroline Goldsmith
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