UNSILENCED: A Teacher’s Year of Battles, Breakthroughs and Life-Changing Lessons at Belchertown State School by HOWARD C. SHANE is an unforgettable and compelling story of finding hope and inspiration in the most unlikely of places – THE MOST IMPORTANT MEMOIR YOU WILL READ IN 2021 – 5+ STARS ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Title: UNSILENCED

Subtitle: A Teacher’s Year of Battles, Breakthroughs, and Life-Changing Lessons at Belchertown State School 

Author: HOWARD C. SHANE   

Genre: NON-FICTION, DISABILITIES, HISTORY, MEMOIRS, DISCRIMINATION

Length: 254 PAGES

Publisher: BROOKES PUBLISHING

Received From: NETGALLEY

Release Date: NOVEMBER 1, 2021

ISBN: 9781681255156

Rating: 5 OUT OF 5 STARS ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

https://m.facebook.com/watch/?v=898640163601782&_rdr

DESCRIPTION:

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.

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MY REVIEW:

“It began in 1969, at a school with a name that’s repellent to modern ears: ‘Belchertown State School for the Feeble-Minded.’ Located in the sleepy town of Belchertown, Massachusetts, it was a grim institution where children with a wide range of disabilities were warehoused for nearly a century. At that time, parents of children with disabilities had few alternatives when it came to raising and educating their children.”

This fantastic memoir is an important addition to the history of people with disabilities. This is a story that MUST be told.

A scan of a 35mm slide taken of one of the dorms at BSS likely in the late 1970s.

Howard Shane was only 22 when he took a teaching position at the Belchertown State School. Much has been written about the institutions where “disabled” people were warehoused in the past. However, this book is completely unlike any other.

Ruth Sienkewicz-Mercer – Born in Northampton, MA, Ruth suffered a severe bout of encephalitis at five weeks old and at 13 months was diagnosed with cerebral palsy. Ruth was admitted to Belchertown as a teen and spent the next 8 years in a bed on a ward for schizophrenics. In 1969, Ruth was introduced to a new teacher, Howard Shane, who, with the help of the physical therapist, created the first alternative communication device that allowed Ruth to communicate more widely. By then, the nurses on the ward had already figured out that Ruth communicated using eye movements and facial expressions.

Institutions such as the Belchertown State School were not places of learning as one would expect from the name. It’s full name says much about the commonly held attitudes of the time: The Belchertown State School for the Feeble-Minded. These were NOT places where hope or inspiration could be found. Instead, the residents were taught either only the basics of self-care, or were taught nothing at all.

Residents (patients) were often left with little or no access to external stimuli and had little access to educational materials.

When Howard Shane arrived to begin his teaching position, he had no idea that it would shape his entire future.

With A and K Building demolished, the worst conditions could be found in the other two large scale residential buildings: G Building and the Infirmary shown here where residents far outnumbered staff and there was little day to day activity on the wards to enrich the residents’ time there. The residents of the infirmary rarely left their beds unless it was to spend time on mats that were spread out on the floor. From Instagram.

Determined to actually educate his students, who were the most severely physically disabled residents of the “school,” Howard devised a way for the non-verbal students to actually communicate. This invention changed the lives of his students in untold ways.

In the early 1940s the residents attended the Belchertown fair and enjoyed riding the carousel so much that the administration decided to purchase one for the school. In 1948 they purchased a c. 1912 Stein & Goldstein Carousel from Forest Lake Park in Palmer. Obtained from the Belchertown State School Friends on Instagram

His dedication to actually educating his students caused him to butt heads with the administration continuously. His views were seen as radical and his goals for his students were seen as unrealistic and a waste of time.

This book will grab your attention and is 100% unputdownable. Readers will find themselves rooting, not only for Howard Shane, but also for the students in his unconventional classroom.

This book is important. We need to remember the past and how people with disabilities were viewed and treated. This knowledge is essential so that society is never allowed to slip back into believing the uneducated views of the past.

I highly recommend this book to anyone and everyone who believes that every person, despite their physical and mental disabilities, are important and deserve the chance to be happy and to live a fulfilling life.

I am very much hoping that Dr. Howard Shane decides to write a follow up to this memoir. I would be extremely interested in hearing more about his career and the devices he helped to create. In my view, Howard C. Shane is an exceptional human being and his life and work need to be celebrated.

I rate this book as 5+ OUT OF 5 STARS ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ and I will be eagerly awaiting the next volume of his memoirs.
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*** Thank you to NetGalley for providing me with a free copy of this book. ***

* Hear an Excerpt Read by Howard Shane, Ph.D. here: 

https://products.brookespublishing.com/Unsilenced-P1285.aspx

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From: AsylumProjects.org

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Howard Shane, Ph.D.,is an associate professor of otolaryngology at Harvard Medical School and the director of the Center for Communication Enhancement and the Autism Language Program at Boston Children’s Hospital.

He has designed more than a dozen computer applications used widely by persons with disabilities and holds two U.S. patents.

Dr. Shane has received Honors of the Association Distinction and is a fellow of the American Speech and Hearing Association.

He is the recipient of the Goldenson Award for Innovations in Technology from the United Cerebral Palsy Association and has authored numerous papers and chapters on severe speech impairment, lectured throughout the world on the topic, and produced numerous computer innovations enjoyed by persons with complex communication disorders.

https://images.app.goo.gl/WfN2yAadxXCmtzgi8

To learn more about this author, visit the following links:

OFFICIAL WEBSITE

HARVARD MEDICAL SCHOOL

GOODREADS

FACEBOOK

WIKIPEDIA

BOSTON CHILDREN’S HOSPITAL

AMAZON

CHAPTERS

PUBLISHER’S WEBSITE

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ABOUT THE PUBLISHER:

BROOKES is the premier publisher of practical, research-based resources that support children’s healthy development and boost the learning and success of all people, with and without disabilities. We partner with pioneers and fresh voices to inspire readers and provide them with the tools needed to help all learners achieve academic success and work toward a bright future.

To learn more about this Publisher visit the following links:

OFFICIAL WEBSITE

FACEBOOK

TWITTER

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PHOTOGRAPHS OF THE BELCHERTOWN STATE SCHOOL:

Photograph obtained from http://www.asylumprojects.org
This photo shows dinner being served in one of the women’s buildings at the Belchertown State School in the late 1920s or early 1930s. Food was prepared for residents at a central kitchen and delivered to the various dormitories.
Note the Buster Brown haircuts on most of the women–the preferred style because it was said to be easier for the staff to do than anything else. (Photo courtesy of the Clapp Memorial Library)
In this 1972 photo, empty beds at the Belchertown State School are pictured. James Shanks reported in his 1970 expose on the conditions at Belchertown State School where men slept in large barracks, beds touching head to foot, with only a narrow twelve-inch aisle separating rows. Sometimes residents had to climb over one another to get to and from their beds. (Photo courtesy of Jeff Albertson/CORBIS)

The Following Photos and Links have nothing to do with Dr. Howard Shane’s memoir. They are included here as additional content I found interesting:

INFORMATION ON THE BELCHERTOWN STATE SCHOOL

From: The ATLAS OBSCURA WEBSITE

THE BELCHERTOWN STATE SCHOOL FOR THE FEEBLE-MINDED was founded in 1922.

The 845 acre campus comprising some 57 buildings must be called scenic, if nothing else—the Holyoke Range is visible from the campus, and many of the original structures were old farmhouse cottages (five farms were purchased to build the school).

After its establishment, the school became the only institution for developmentally disabled children in Western Massachusetts. Conditions deteriorated over the next few decades. Wards were overcrowded and attendants overworked. As a result, patients were often left to soak for hours in their own excrement. Sometimes, handicapped patients had their teeth removed to facilitate feeding.

In 1992, the school was finally closed after decades of reported human rights violations. In 1994, the campus was added to the National Register of Historic Places.

Today, the buildings are all boarded up. Graffiti and vandalism are rampant. Many of the ward rooms have been destroyed. Weather has also done its fair share of damage. The buildings have asbestos and, while possible to walk in, aren’t structurally sound.

However relics remain of the old school. One room in a large dormitory building still has plastic mats nailed to the walls—a padded cell. Large recreational rooms on either side of the dormitory halls get the most sun. The light is fractured by old-fashioned wheelchairs. In the basement of one building, a piano is lying on its back like a sleeping horse.

And, while the town of Belchertown may have forgotten this nasty piece of its history in the few decades since the state school was closed, it is possible the former residents still remember. In an upper floor, a note was scrawled on the floor, on top of which were human feces. “We were here. Now we’re gone,” it read. “Clean this place up. It’s a mess!”

KNOW BEFORE YOU GO:

The grounds are conveniently located right behind the Belchertown Police Department. There are No Trespassing signs, and the local paper reports trespassers being arrested on a weekly basis.

If you are interested in learning more about this topic, you might find the following links interesting:

ARTICLE: Abandoned New England: Photos from inside the old Belchertown State School for the Feeble-Minded by Matt Hester, Freelance Photographer on MASSLIVE website

Book: Crimes Against Humanity: A Historical Perspective. It was written by Benjamin Ricci, who sent his six-year-old son Bobby to live there not knowing what the conditions were like, and who was involved in the initial 1972 lawsuit.

Another book with vivid descriptions of Belchertown is Ruth Sienkiewicz-Mercer’s I Raise My Eyes to Say Yes. She was a resident of the school in the 1960s and 1970s. Ruth was one of Howard Shane’s students.

BOOK: THE BOYS AND GIRLS OF BELCHERTOWN by Robert Hornick

CANNABIS DRINKS – Secrets to Crafting CBD and THC Beverages at Home by Cannabis Conneseur JAMIE EVANS is a must for everyone interested in cannabis recipes

Title: CANNABIS DRINKS

Subtitle: SECRETS TO CRAFTING CBD AND THC BEVERAGES AT HOME

Author: JAMIE EVANS

Genre: NON-FICTION, COOKING, BEVERAGES, CANNABIS, HEALTH AND WELLNESS

Length: 176 PAGES

Size: 5.71 in x 7.68 in / 145.03 mm x 195.07 mm

Publisher: FAIR WINDS PRESS

Received From: NETGALLEY

Release Date: APRIL 13, 2021

ISBN: 9781592339747 (Hardcover)

Price: $19.95 USD (Hardcover)

Rating: 5 OUT OF 5 STARS ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

DESCRIPTION:

Welcome to the future of beverages!

Infusing cannabis into drinks can be done in a variety of ways. Learn all about it as you craft delicious cocktails, smoothies, lattes, and spirit-free mixed drinks.

Maybe you’re curious about CBD or perhaps you’ve tried a store-bought sparkling cannabis drink already. Either way, you’re here because you’re ready to learn the ins and outs of making deliciously infused drinkables.

This guide, written by Jamie Evans (author of The Ultimate Guide to CBD), will serve as the go-to resource for anyone interested in incorporating phytocannabinoids into a variety of recipes.

Inside, you’ll start your journey with infused mixology. You’ll learn the most essential how-tos and infusion methods, including decarboxylation and heating techniques for those who want to do it all.

Different from other books in this category, this book offers something to both beginners and experts—and crucially, to both those who only want to use CBD and those who want to infuse with THC—presenting many approaches to enhancing drinks.

From adding CBD oils and tinctures to a variety of recipes to crafting more complex cannabis libations behind the bar, you can choose the path that’s right for you.

With an exploration of cannabis terpenes, this book also provides the author’s signature techniques for evaluating cannabis aroma and flavor profiles to curate flavor pairings. As a Wine Enthusiast, 40 Under 40 Tastemaker and Certified Specialist of Wine, Jamie applies the same sensory evaluation techniques she used in the wine world to cannabis, helping readers fine-tune their senses to better understand it as an ingredient—and use it to craft the perfect infused drinks.

Including recipes and tips from leading industry experts, this book has it all.

MY REVIEW:

As a person who suffers from chronic pain due to Multiple Sclerosis, Fibromyalgia, Hypothyroidism and Degenerative Disc Disease, I am always on the lookout for pain remedies.

The CBD found in the Cannabis plant has been proven again and again to help reduce pain levels, as well as to offer several other health benefits.

CBD and THC are the two most understood ingredients of cannabis. THC is the ingredient that gets the user “high.” CBD, however, DOES NOT result in the user feeling “high.”

I do not fault anyone who wants to use marijuana in any way. That is a personal decision and, here in Canada, cannabis is legal as long as you are of age.

My interest in CANNABIS DRINKS is in being able to make the recipes that are high in CBD to try to alleviate some of my pain. I have been to several Cannabis stores here in Ontario, Canada – both online and in-person, yet I have found it nearly impossible to find cannabis drinks with high CBD levels and little, or no THC, and the few drinks I did find were horrible tasting.

So, it should come as no surprise that when I discovered this book, I was extremely excited.

RECIPES INCLUDE:

Basic infusions: Infused bitters, shrubs, honey, sour mix, simple syrups, and an alcohol-based tincture

COFFEE AND TEA: Pumpkin Spice Latte, Butter Coffee, Turmeric Latte, Summer Berry Palmer, Ginger Lemon Hibiscus Iced Tea, Masala Chai Tea

JUICES, SHAKES, AND SMOOTHIES: Green Goddess Canna-leaf Juice, Garden of Eden Juice, Chocolate Banana Protein Shake, PB&J Shake, Superfood Smoothie, Vitamin CBD Smoothie

SPIRIT-FREE MIXED DRINKS: Raspberry Rickey, Sparkling Rosemary Greyhound, Fuzzy Ginger Fizz, Apple Spice CBD Mule, The Jolly Cranberry, Infused Feisty Mary

I can’t wait to try out this recipe. The photograph makes it look so delicious.

COCKTAILS: Blood Orange Aperol Spritz, Spicy Melon Margarita, CBD Limelight, Strawberry Lime Shrub Soda, Blackberry Bramble, Pisco Papaya Sour, Laid Back Manhattan, Toasty Toddy AND SEVERAL MORE.

I am extremely excited to try out several of these very yummy looking drinks.

I love that there are photographs of the drinks so that I know what they are supposed to end up looking like. The list of necessary items for each recipe is terrific and very helpful. The ingredients are clearly listed and the instructions are easy to follow.

I rate this Cannabis Cookbook as 5 OUT OF 5 STARS ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ and I highly recommend it to anyone who wants to try either THC, CBD or both in the form of drinks.

*** Thank you to NetGalley for providing me with a free copy of this book. ***

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Jamie Evans is the founder of The Herb Somm, a culinary-meets-cannabis blog and lifestyle brand that’s focused on the gourmet side of the cannabis industry. She is an author, entrepreneur, and writer specializing in cannabis, CBD, food, recipes, wine, and the canna-culinary world.

As a well-known CBD and cannabis personality, Jamie is best known for her literary work and signature canna-culinary events. She’s also a contributor to POPSUGAR, MARY Magazine, and The Clever Root magazine, specializing in lifestyle features for the modern consumer. Jamie is the co-editor of GoldLeaf’s acclaimed cannabis Cooking Journal and the author of the CBD lifestyle book, The Ultimate Guide to CBD: Explore the World of Cannabidiol (Fair Winds Press).

As an industry leader, Jamie was named as one of Wine Enthusiast Magazine’s Top 40 Under 40 Tastemakers in 2018 and as a 2018 Innovatorby SevenFifty Daily. She was also recognized as one of Green Market Report’s “Most Important Women in Weed” in 2020.

Alongside her work in the cannabis space, Jamie is a Certified Specialist of Wine with over a decade of wine industry experience. Having represented a wide array of organizations and wineries including Jackson Family Wines, Folio Fine Wine Partners, Napa Valley Grapegrowers, and more, she is well known for producing high-end events and developing top-notch public relations, marketing, and hospitality programs. Jamie has been featured in dozens of different articles and TV segments including Food & Wine, Entrepreneur, Forbes, Cheddar TV, Wine Enthusiast, Robb Report, San Francisco Chronicle, Los Angeles Times, ABC, and High Times, among many others.

To learn more about this author, visit the following links:

OFFICIAL WEBSITE

GOODREADS

FACEBOOK

INSTAGRAM

TWITTER

AMAZON  

CHAPTERS/INDIGO

PUBLISHER’S WEBSITE

WIN, WIN, WIN. The 18 Inclusion-isms You Need to Become a Disability Confident Employer by TED Talker Tova Sherman is available NOW. This book will change your outlook and maybe even change your life…

Back Cover

Title: WIN, WIN, WIN!

Subtitle: The 18 Inclusion-isms You Need to Become a Disability Confident Employer

Author: TOVA SHERMAN

Genre: NON-FICTION, DISABILITY, BUSINESS PRACTICES, INCLUSION, DIVERSITY

Length: 58 PAGES

Publisher: REACHABILITY

Received From: NETGALLEY

Release Date: JANUARY 26, 2021

ISBN: 9780981323145

Price: $15.95 USD

Rating: 5 OUT OF 5 STARS ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

DESCRIPTION:

TOVA SHERMAN—a TED Speaker and thought leader with more than 25 years of experience in diversity and inclusion—is the award-winning CEO of reachAbility, an organization which provides supportive and accessible programs dedicated to workplace inclusion for anyone facing barriers.

As the winner of Queen Elizabeth II’s Diamond Jubilee Medal and the Canada Law Leadership Award, Tova is a highly sought-after resource on the laws and challenges of inclusion within today’s swiftly changing employment landscape.

Upon noticing a gap in the arts community, Tova co-founded the Bluenose Ability Arts and Film Festival (BAAFF) in 2015. BAAFF is a festival dedicated to providing the disability arts community a clear voice. Her personal challenges associated with living on the ADHD Spectrum inform her empathy and commitment to equalizing the playing field for those with physical, cognitive, sensory, and mental disabilities.

I LOVE the title of this page

MY REVIEW:

Perfection. This should be required reading not only for business people, but also for everyone serving in any elected position whether in government or in any other organization.

Because it is a mere 54 pages in length, there is little excuse not to read this book.

Disability is finally being discussed and addressed. Today’s society is slowly beginning to cast off its outdated and uninformed opinions around the topic of disAbility. This book is a perfect first step for businesses and organizations who want to become more inclusive, but don’t know how to go about creating that change.

Written in a clear and concise manner, this guide offers practical ways to immediately put inclusive practices to use in their business or organization.

Each of the eighteen “Inclusion-isms” have on the opposite page a theme specific work of art by a disabled artist. For example:

This is the book that the Disability community has been hoping for.

A 5 Star Rating is deserved – with a caveat – If you are looking to delve deeply into the subjects of inclusion and Disability, this is not that type of book. This is the perfect starter/primer and is intended to supply businesses with actions they can implement immediately.

*** Thank you to NetGalley for providing me with a free copy of this book. ***

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

TOVA SHERMAN

To learn more about this author, visit the following links:

OFFICIAL WEBSITE  

GOODREADS

INSTAGRAM

INSTAGRAM – REACHABILITY

LINKEDIN

FACEBOOK 

AMAZON   

PUBLISHER’S WEBSITE