Holly is intuitive, gentle, and kind.
Holly was diagnosed at the age of 2 with epilepsy, bilateral hearing loss, and profound mental retardation (now referred to as cognitive/intellectual disability), and later diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder. Holly is non-verbal, the only sound she makes is laughter. Imagine hearing your Kindergarten teacher tell your Mom that you would never be normal and that you would never lead a normal life and not being able to reply because you could not speak. But yet, you understood every painful word. Even though she received intensive therapy and special education services throughout her childhood, she remained “locked” in silence. At the age of 21, her silence was broken when her literacy was discovered by an inclusion expert. After months of more intense therapy, Holly typed her first word on a simple keyboard, pecking one letter at a time. Within two years, and with the support from a facilitator, Holly typed “I want a platform to teach about love.” Followed closely by the words “No more grape jelly!” Since that day, Holly and her Mother, Eileen, have shared Holly’s message through conferences, academia, church retreats, and publications. With award-winning song writer, Megan Burtt, Holly wrote and recorded her song “God Will Sing You Home,” which has been shared across the world. Holly’s upcoming autobiography will share her unique journey of tragedy to triumph continuing our pledge to give a voice to the voiceless.
Holly, a die-hard Denver Broncos fan, lives with her family near Denver, Colorado. Holly’s desire is to share her message of hope and to inspire those who feel silenced, oppressed, invisible, bullied, or less than. Together with her Mom Eileen Forlenza, a professional speaker, Holly shares her insight with groups in her community and around the country.