Yes its true! If you heard the rumor mill, I have fallen in love and moved!! I have been spending the last year and a half traveling, between Tucson and Phoenix. I'm traveling all over the US now and love my new home base.
Great news I'm still helping families access special education, in public schools, all across Arizona!
I have expanded my role in sharing my story and that of my son's. My focus is to help families see the possibilities of growth and the power of data driven decisions.
As a parent I know that sometimes you just don't know, what you don't know. I am driven to inspire parents and professionals alike:
Success is possible!
Academic interventions are critical!
No one person has all the answers.
Staff training by qualified trainers can fix problem situations.
Meeting a student where they are, just makes sense.
Improving communication helps everyone.
High expectations for all!
Succeeding and failing is a part of everyones journey.
Social skills are AS important as academics.
Don't keep doing the same thing if it does not work, time for a new approach.
So who is Kim Yamamoto? A mother of 2 and second mom to 2 more. My oldest Cameron was diagnosed with Autism and MR at 2 years 2 months. I have a wonderful daughter who was born shortly after. The last two years I fell in love with a man who has a beautiful daughter and son that I love like my own. My son who they said he would always be in special education, never live on his own blah blah blah. He is now a Sophomore at ASU Barrette's Honor College. His journey has not been easy at times and he powers through growing into a strong and delightful man.
I have owned 3 of my own businesses, being an entrepreneur is in my blood forever. I pride myself in thinking outside the box. That is what brought me to advocacy over 16 years ago. I am a firefighter of sorts. So much of special education and the school system works, but what happens when it doesn't? The challenge that has kept me expanding my ideas and expertise in advocating for kids. As a special education advocate I assist families in understanding their rights and becoming an informed consumer. I love to guide families in creating positive change and speak up for them when the system is to intimidating.
For four years I had the privilege to work with Raising Special Kids on the Parent Training & Information Grant. Where we provided information and support about special education to over 10,000 families annually. This is where I found a drive to inspire others to set the bar higher in education. Speaking with families, educators and service providers and working on projects with the state let loose my passion for speaking.
I spend approximately 60 hours yearly staying current on topics that relate to special education. Negotiation practices, IDEA, Section 504 or the Rehabilitation Act, and a plethora of academic and developmental interventions.
I would like to tell you its all the information that has led me to success, its not. Although I am a confessed fact junky when it comes to education of children and teens. The real secret is I advocate with integrity. I build relationships with mutual respect. I do my homework by reviewing history and process. I ask questions and listen to answers. I make data driven decisions and encourage others too. I listen when someone says, 'I can't." I find people who can. I explain why and teach families to market their ideas. I'm not afraid to say, "no." By seeing the possibility I share a new reality with families and school teams.