2013 Equal Justice Works Fellow, Tawny Holmes

Tawny Holmes

Name of Host Organization: National Association of the Deaf
City, State: Silver Spring, Maryland
Issue area: Education/Special Education
Sponsors: Morgan, Lewis & Bockius LLP

The Project

Tawny provided legal resources and training to cultivate a national network of Education Advocates (parents and community members) to address the needs of deaf and hard-of-hearing children.

The Inspiration

Need Addressed By Project: 
More than 90 percent of the estimated 250,000 deaf and hard-of-hearing children in this country are in mainstream school settings. They are often the only deaf students in their schools because they have low-incidence disabilities. This leaves parents interacting with school districts and teachers who may have limited experience with deaf children and are not fully aware of deaf students’ needs and abilities. Without knowledge of their legal rights, parents often find themselves unable to advocate fully for their deaf children. Parents need to be educated and empowered to help their deaf children succeed.
Fellowship Highlights: 
During her Fellowship, Tawny has:
• Provided presentations to 2,493 students, parents, teachers, administrators, and other professionals
• Trained deaf and hard of hearing students on self-advocacy at 22 schools and programs across the country
• Attended and presented at 26 education-related conferences on advocacy-related topics (state, national and international)
• Seen the number of intakes from parents and teachers quadruple, now totaling 463
• Grown the Education Advocates program from 27 to 44 states, 12 parents, and 4 national diverse organizations
Where are they now?: 
Now that the Fellowship is complete, Tawny has become the Education Policy Counsel for the National Association of the Deaf.

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