The Silent Garden

A Parent’s Guide to Raising a Deaf Child

Third Edition

By Paul W. Ogden & David H. Smith
Foreword by Marlee Matlin

Categories: Parenting / Family, Deaf Education
Imprint: Gallaudet University Press
Paperback : 9781563686764, 344 pages, November 2016
Ebook : 9781563686771, 344 pages, November 2016
Ebook : 9781944838324, December 2017
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For over 30 years, The Silent Garden has offered parents of deaf children the support and unbiased information needed to fully realize their children’s potential. This completely revised third edition is a must-have resource that will help parents navigate the complex and unique challenges they face. Accessible, practical, and, above all, open-minded, The Silent Garden educates parents quickly and thoroughly about the many conflicting points of view on what is best for their deaf children.
       Authors Paul W. Ogden and David H. Smith, who are both deaf, present examples and research that guide parents through often unfamiliar territory. From coping mechanisms for parents to advice on creating healthy home environments, the authors cover a range of topics that impact day-to-day actions and decision-making. The topic of communication is discussed extensively as communication access and language development are crucial not only for intellectual growth, but also for positive family and social relationships. The authors look at American Sign Language, listening and spoken language, written English, and various other modes of communication available to deaf children. Different educational options are presented, and technology—including the debate about cochlear implants—is reviewed. Deaf children with special needs are considered here as well. Each topic is accompanied by real-life stories that offer further insight.
       Always encouraging, The Silent Garden empowers parents to be the best advocates for their deaf children. Throughout, the authors emphasize that each choice is highly personal, and they stress that all deaf children have the potential to lead rich, productive, and exciting lives.

Also available in Spanish - El Jardín Silencioso: Una guía para los padres para criar a un niño sordo is a condensed Spanish edition that features the first five chapters of The Silent Garden. Topics covered include coping mechanisms for parents, creating healthy family environments, fostering independence, and understanding the perspectives of siblings.


Paul W. Ogden is Professor Emeritus of Deaf Studies at California State University, Fresno.

David H. Smith is an associate professor and director of the Center on Deafness at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville.



"A required acquisition for all libraries."

— Library Journal

"Parents and caregivers seeking honest, straightforward, and useful guidance on raising a deaf child have long relied upon Paul W. Ogden and David H. Smith's supportive and insightful text. It has now been reissued in a third revised edition and is an essential purchase for all public libraries. Addressing central questions of communication, personhood, family dynamics, school, and self-care, this book should be part of any core collection on the subject."

— Outstanding Title, University Press Books for Public and Secondary School Libraries, 2017

Advance Praise

"This book provides readers with invaluable insights to raising a deaf child and discusses thought provoking issues and challenges related to parenting. The authors share a significant number of anecdotal stories of deaf children, their parents, and families, from diverse experiences and perspectives. These personal stories will be helpful to new parents trying to determine the best approaches to raising their deaf child. We expect that this book will not only support effective parenting but will also allow Deaf people, parents of deaf children, and their hearing counterparts to reflect on their own experiences as they read it."

— T. Alan Hurwitz, President Emeritus, Gallaudet University and Vicki T. Hurwitz, Retired Director, Outreach Center, Rochester School for the Deaf

"All too often parents of newly identified Deaf and hard of hearing children contact my office seeking guidance on many of the fundamental issues and questions that Paul Ogden and David Smith address in the third edition of The Silent Garden. I will share this insightful book with new parents knowing that this is a publication that speaks to their hearts and souls in a powerful and truthful manner."

— Gerard Buckley, President, National Technical Institute for the Deaf

"I don’t often come across a resource that thoughtfully looks at the decisions families must make and the complexities of the journey of raising a child who is Deaf/Hard of Hearing. In our world at Hands & Voices, we support the choices that families make across the continuums of hearing loss, communication, and language; social/emotional/identity issues; and school considerations/placement. This book takes a look at all of these aspects in a very respectful way. I particularly like that the authors clearly differentiate between what is known through evidence-based research and what is their opinion, something that is often blurred in other resources, to the confusion of the reader. I would recommend this book to all families who are beginning their journey."

— Janet DesGeorges, Executive Director, Hands & Voices

"Families with Deaf and Hard of Hearing children have an opportunity to celebrate raising a family in a unique manner. The Silent Garden offers parents the first doorway into their journey in raising a Deaf child. Dr. Ogden and Dr. Smith lead parents through critical discussions about communication, socialization, and learning, all issues that families need to be aware of in nurturing their Deaf or Hard of Hearing child. The authors provide parent-friendly and child-centered chapters ranging from daily life to education that work to scaffold the whole family! Families will gain a wealth of knowledge as well as the assurance that they are not alone. The Silent Garden also is a powerful tool for professionals who work with Deaf and Hard of Hearing children. Understanding the issues that families encounter is imperative for deaf educators, administrators, educational interpreters, speech therapists, etc." 

— Lisalee D. Egbert, Vice President, American Society for Deaf Children

"Through extensive research, firsthand experiences from seasoned parents of deaf and hard-of-hearing children across the country, and the authors’ own personal insights, Ogden and Smith cover an unrivaled spectrum of topics in The Silent Garden. Parents of deaf and hard-of-hearing children are faced with making critically important decisions, often without fully understanding the ramifications of those decisions. Irrefutable evidence shows that remaining idle for too long can have lifelong consequences, and yet there are scarcely enough resources for parents to employ when trying to make well-informed decisions. The Silent Garden effectively fills this gap. Ogden and Smith empower readers, parents and professionals alike, with a treasure trove of ready-to-use tools and copious amounts of information to support the decision-making process."

— Jennifer Blohm, Early Intervention Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing Specialist