The year is 1969, and fresh-out-of-college smart-aleck Howard Shane has just landed his first teaching job—at Belchertown State School, a bleak institution where people with disabilities endure endless days of silence, tedium, and neglect.
Howard is stunned by the conditions at Belchertown and the challenges of his new job, but as he gets to know his diverse, endearing, and intelligent students, he becomes consumed with a mission: to unlock their communication skills and help them reach their full potential. Pitting his youthful idealism and passion against the rigidity of a rule-bound administrator, Howard battles his way to small joys and victories with his students—and, along the way, learns just as much as he teaches.
A stirring and spellbinding memoir from internationally renowned AAC expert Howard Shane (Boston Children’s Hospital, Harvard Medical School), Unsilenced is a candid look at a pivotal era in disability history and a deeply personal account of how all human beings can flourish when we care for each other and fight for change.
About Howard Shane, Ph.D. Howard Shane is the Director of the Center for Communication Enhancement at Boston Childrens Hospital, an Associate Professor at Harvard Medical School, and Professor at the MGH Institute for Health Professions. He has authored five academic books including Enhancing Communication for Individuals with Autism; A guide to the Visual Immersion System and was one of three authors of the bestselling Childrens Hospital Guide to Your Childs Health. He has published over 100 scholarly papers and lectured throughout the world on severe speech impairments. He is the recipient of several Academic and Association Awards-most recently the 2019 Frank R. Kleffner Lifetime Clinical Career Award from the American Speech-Language-Hearing Foundation.