Holly Fiscus-Forlenza has never spoken a word in her life; the only sound she makes is laughter. In 1991, at the age of two, Holly was diagnosed with profound mental retardation. – “I have been called retarded from the day I was born. It makes me feel worthless. I hate that word.” Holly
From the age of two months, a terrible seizure disorder left Holly defenseless as her body jolted with 150 seizures every single day. She wore a helmet and relied on others to steady her when she walked. The seizures left her exhausted, scared and silent. Since the age of 14, Holly’s seizures have been controlled by an implanted device. Currently, she has 20-30 minor seizures a day. Even though she still requires 24/7 care, Holly is now able to be active in her community. – “I want to be able to pick how I spend my day.” Holly
Holly graduated from public education in 2010, loves to go to concerts & movies, hang out with friends, watch TV in her room, and eat! “I hated getting told in kindergarten there was no way I would become normal.” Holly
Holly is sweet, intuitive, gentle and silent. – “Please help people to understand other people are impacted by their words.” Holly
A life-changing encounter in 2011 would break Holly’s silence. Dr. Christi Kasa, one of only 20 experts in the country on Facilitated Communication, told Holly’s family that Holly, at age 22, had literacy skills. Dr. Christi worked with Holly’s family, giving them stern instructions, “Forget all you’ve been told about what Holly can do, and from this point forward – presume competence!” Using a simple keyboard and an iPad, Holly spoke up! – “No more grape jelly” Holly
Holly was unlocked, and gradually began expressing her desires, insight, gratitude and wisdom. – “I like pleasing the people that I love and pushing them to do great things, pushing them to see that they have abilities that I don’t have.” Holly
In 2012, Holly’s family asked how they could help her respond to her have a Big Life. With quiet determination and the assistance of her BFF Ashley, Holly pointed her finger and slowly, one letter at a time, typed, “I want a platform to teach about love.”
Her mom Eileen asked, “Do you want to write a book? A song? Speak to groups? Holly typed, “I want to write a song and it will be called God Will Sing You Home.” (she did by the way: https://www.hollyspeaksup.com/store/cds/)
Holly’s growing social circle soon included award-winning singer/songwriter, Megan Burtt. Holly wrote some lyrics and in between Megan’s tours, they would meet as co-writers to bring Holly’s dream to life. Megan wrote the arrangement while musicians in studios around the country offered to record the background vocals and instrumentals. In September 2013, Megan recorded Holly’s song, God Will Sing You Home. “ Love is pleasing to God.” Holly
Holly does not type every day. Some days Holly will write a single, short sentence. It is the power, not the volume of Holly’s words that move us. – “I want to fall in love.” Holly
In October 2013, Holly published her first book, Just Because I Can’t Talk Doesn’t Mean I Don’t Have Anything to Say, featuring words about her silent experience and the power of love. – “I love the idea about being a teacher.” Holly
Holly continues to express her commitment to empower people to believe in themselves and the everlasting power of love. – “Please love the people on your path. Your kindness matters.” Holly
Holly, a die-hard Denver Broncos fan, lives with her family near Denver, Colorado. Holly’s desire is to share her triumphant voice, to teach and motivate those who feel silenced, oppressed, invisible, or bullied. Together with her mom Eileen, a professional speaker, Holly has shares her insight with groups in her community and around the country.
To book Holly to speak at your next event, click on the contact tab.
To purchase one of Holly’s books, art pieces or songs, visit her store.