THE SILENT GARDEN by Paul & Suzanne Lipsett Ogden


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For parents--or anyone concerned: valuable assistance in establishing a means of communication for children deaf either from birth or before the acquisition of speech. Ogden, besides being a researcher and professor of communicative disorders (California State, Fresno), has himself been profoundly deaf since birth; and his testimony, plus case-study evidence, strongly conveys how various types of hearing loss affect the young child's view of his or her world. The authors' first concern is parental needs and expectations; those who learn their child is deaf will experience a ""response cycle"" (from shock to constructive action) which may repeat itself over and over as the child faces new challenges. When parents are ready for action, their efforts will be in two areas: home life and schooling. ""The crucial factor in creating a healthy home environment for a deaf child is good communication""--seemingly self-evident, but experts used to counsel parents to eliminate all body language because it would distract their deaf child from trying to learn words; as a result, most children became more isolated than ever. The second major concern for parents is formal schooling--a particular problem because the advantages of various communications methods, educational strategies, and telecommunications aids are still being argued by professionals. Among the most hotly contested issues: whether deaf children should be allowed to use sign language (does it improve their communication or further isolate them from the hearing world?); and whether or not to ""mainstream"" deaf children in school. The authors inform parents of all that is known about each issue, illustrate how various approaches have worked in specific cases, remind us that there are no absolute answers--and urge parents to decide each question according to their own particular situations. Ogden and Lipsett never de-emphasize the enormity of these tasks, but readers won't be overwhelmed; this sensitive guide is firm support in helping parents make their difficult choices.

Pub Date: March 31st, 1982
Publisher: St. Martin's