Watch live: Channel 2 News at 4 p.m.

Technology helps woman with severe epilepsy find her voice after 24 years

This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.

For 22 years, a Highlands Ranch woman couldn’t communicate with the world around her.

But two years ago, technology and a process called “facilitated communication” opened the door to her silent thoughts.

Holly Forlenza communicates through a keyboard and IPad.  She’s never spoken a word in her life.

But that doesn’t mean she doesn’t have anything to say.

"It's been the most amazing unfolding of her wisdom and we did not see it coming. We did not see it coming," says Holly’s mom, Eileen Forlenza.

Her thoughts silent for 22 years, locked deep inside her.

Then, two years ago, a keyboard helped her communicate.

"The thing she spelled on the very first day. She typed “president.” That she wanted to have a discussion about presidential election," laughs Eileen.

On this Christmas morning, with the help of an aide, Ashley Lowell, she types this message.

"I want people to know they are loved," reads Eileen from Holly’s IPad.

Love is a common theme in her insights.

"In November 2012, Holly typed, I want a platform to teach about love." So we were so amazed by that. We said, ‘Holly what do you want to do then?’" says Eileen.

Holly started by writing the words to the song, “God will Sing You Home.”

She also wrote a book—a compilation of her thoughts: “Just Because I Can’t Talk, Doesn’t Mean I Don’t Have Anything to Say.”

She writes in the book: “I hated getting told in kindergarten there was no way I would be normal.”

And, “I think God made my body this way because he wanted me to type good things for his glory. I used to think he was punishing me but now I know that is because he loves me.”

"She averaged about 150 seizures a day," says Eileen about Holly’s severe epilepsy. She is also developmentally disabled. She was diagnosed at two years old.

Her family solidly supports her—and delights in what messages she’ll share next.

"She's had 24 years to think about it and now it's coming out. There's so much more to come. I can't wait be a part of it," says Holly step-dad, for much of her life, Scott Forlenza.

"She has a lot to teach us…The very last page of her book sums it up. Be kind to people on your path. Your kindness matters," says Eileen.

To hear more about Holly’s journey, visit: www.HollySpeaksUp.com.

2 comments

Comments are closed.