Never Give Up

Tona TreeTop described finding out her 5-month-old son Mateo had sustained a Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) as “Life-altering. You don’t ever think something like that is going to happen. Then, it was like being in a tornado of all the legal and medical issues. It was overwhelming. I was trying to understand what the doctors were saying and I thought, ‘I don’t know enough!’ I didn’t have time to sit back and think; there was too much I had to do Mateo TreeTop and his TBI Winter Countfor my son.”

Tona’s research into Mateo’s injury indicated his outcome was probably going to be bleak. She recalls, “I did everything in my power to help Mateo regain as much as possible, but he is the one who never stops trying. Even when he was a baby getting OT, PT, and Speech, he would always persist.”

Five years after his initial diagnosis, Tona and Mateo moved from Idaho to Phoenix. Tona searched for local support for families of children with disabilities and connected with Raising Special Kids.

In the ensuing years she attended several workshops and when Mateo was in junior high, she worked with a family support specialist to review his IEP. It was an event she describes as “…a turning point. It was crucial in terms of Mateo’s academic development, the wealth of knowledge made available to me. Every time I needed help, Raising Special Kids has been there to help us along this journey.”

Mateo recently graduated from high school and participated in the Statewide Independent Living Council’s Arizona Youth Leadership Forum. He is currently enrolled at Scottsdale Community College (SCC) studying to be a Tribal Librarian. He works with the SCC’s Disability Resource Center to ensure he has testing accommodations and assistive technology in place.

Mateo never gives up.

Visit our training calendar to find workshops that can help you understand your special education rights.

*Mateo, a member of the Lakota Tribe, documented the history of his TBI experience. See the description of his winter count at

Upcoming Events

View Full Calendar

Featured Story

Join Our Monthly Giving Program!

Join Our Monthly Giving Program!

Twelve monthly gifts can have twelve times the impact of one gift! Our staff is providing support, training, and information services daily to Arizona families. Help... Keep Reading

Read More Stories

Follow @ Raisingspecialk

Families assisted


Get Started

Parent-to-parent matches


Support Network

Professionals trained


What to Expect

Community partners


Partner with Us

Families Helping Families

Get Started

Contact Us

Raising Special Kids

5025 E. Washington St., Ste. 204 Phoenix, AZ 85034

  • Phoenix: 602-242-4366
  • Flagstaff: 928-444-8834
  • Tucson: 520-441-4007
  • Yuma: 928-444-8803
  • Toll Free: 800-237-3007