Carla Baker Marymee is a parent coach, confidante, consultant, and IEP special education expert and advocate who partners with parents to support their children with disabilities. Her experience includes advocating for children with autism, ADD, developmental delays, emotional disturbance, intellectual disabilities, and speech and language impairments. The owner of Kids First Advocacy, she provides expert guidance to assist parents in making positive decisions proactively to assist their children and maximize successful outcomes at home, in school, and in their communities.
She has certifications from Wrightslaw, the leaders in special education law and advocacy, and the Council of Parent Attorney and Advocates (COPAA), an organization of attorneys and advocates who work to protect special education rights in education. The parent of a 19-year-old son diagnosed with autism, she also has personal, hands-on experience helping him successfully transition through many of life’s phases heading toward independent living. She is also caretaker for her brother who has mental illness.
She began advocating in California in 1997 after her son, Evan, was diagnosed with autism (PDD-NOS). Since then she’s partnered with families and advocated for children with many disabilities and worked with school districts to develop programs from California to Michigan. In 2001, as Co-Chair of the Community Advisory Committee (CAC) for children with special needs in the Oakland (CA) Unified School District, she advocated for and represented 6,000 special needs children. She was instrumental in the creation of the progressive Asperger Inclusion Program (AsIP). This program was one of the first in California to use Applied Behavioral Analysis (ABA) therapy throughout the state to help students with high-functioning autism find success in traditional elementary school classrooms.
Considered a pioneer in creating educational strategies, training models, and programs for different learners, she brought her extensive experience and knowledge to Michigan in 2005 when the family moved here. She created Baker Marymee Advocacy (now Kids First Advocacy) in 2006, advocating for Michigan children with various special needs in many school districts.
She was on the board of directors for the West Bloomfield Educational Foundation (WBEF) from 2006 to Dec. 2009. In 2011, she was Co-Chair of the Revenue Enhancement/Communications Committee for the West Bloomfield School District, actively engaging in strategic planning, marketing, and fundraising. She was also a board member of the West Bloomfield High School Choral Boosters.
Prior to becoming an educational advocate, she was a writer and marketing and public relations executive with more than 20 years’ experience, working for several Fortune 500 high-tech companies in the Silicon Valley and San Francisco Bay Area.
She is a member of The Autism Society of America, the national Council of Parent Attorneys and Advocates (COPAA), the National Association for the Mentally Ill (NAMI) and Inforum, the leading professional organization focused on creating strategic connections and accelerating careers for women throughout Michigan and the Midwest.
She resides with her husband, son, and brother.