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MICHELLE NORMAN
NAVY SPOUSE
Virginia Beach, Virginia
MICHELLE NORMAN MICHELLE NORMAN

SHE HAS BEEN INSTRUMENTAL IN SUPPORTING EDUCATION FOR MILITARY CHILDREN WITH SPECIAL NEEDS.

By Kristin Davis
Photo by © www.enephoto.com

Norman unexpectedly found her passion in advocacy two decades ago while stationed with her husband in Japan next to the Jinkanpo Atsugi Incinerator, which emitted toxic chemicals over neighboring base facilities. It was ultimately shut down in May 2001. The experience of taking action would serve her three years later when her infant daughter was diagnosed with cerebral palsy. 

LATEST EFFORTS
Norman spent years working to make sure her daughter met all the milestones doctors said she would not: walking, talking, and eating on her own. Later, Norman successfully advocated and won multiple legal cases to make sure her daughter received the minimum education required by law. She heard from military families from around the country and in 2020 founded Partners in PROMISE to protect the rights of military children in special education. Norman's work has led to federal reforms, including a special education attorney at every military installation and standardization of exceptional family military programs.

HOW HER SERVICE SUPPORTS MOAA'S MISSION
Norman is elevating the voices of military special education students and their families to ensure they have the same access to education as civilian students. 

'We're trying to elevate and educate and advise those who are able to make change. We know our voices together can effect change from the top down.'

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This material originally appeared in Military Officer, a magazine available to all MOAA PREMIUM and LIFE members.

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