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Amber Gale: Iowa DD Council Member SpotlightMonday, December 21, 2020
My four-year-old son, AJ, does the best Cookie Monster impersonations and just happens to have Down syndrome. He was also born with a congenital heart defect, hypoplastic left heart syndrome, and has other medical diagnoses, including trach, g-tube and oxygen dependency. This past year, he has become more medically stable, and I’ve been able to use the opportunity to become more involved in advocating — not only for him but for others in our community. I participated in Iowa Family Leadership Training Institute, where I learned about the DD council. It seemed like a great opportunity to amplify the needs of the community. The opportunity to be a part of the Iowa DD Council and spend time with other individuals in advocacy is exciting. Learning and growing as a person is important to me and something that has made a huge difference in my parenting journey, especially with AJ. This led to working with others to found MORE for Caregivers (www.moreforcaregivers.org), a nonprofit that provides personal development opportunities for parents and caregivers of children with special health care needs in Iowa. That takes up a good chunk of my time, but I’m also crafty. I love creative projects and bullet journaling. I also love to write and create resources to share with other families on our family blog at www.aaronandambersfamily.org. My family loves to go camping and spend time outdoors, but that was definitely something that was passed down on their dad’s side and skipped a generation on my side — I’d rather sit inside and relax while they go outside! I am pretty much an open book, especially when it comes to our journey with AJ and love connecting with other families. I am also thankful and looking forward to the opportunity to serve on the Council.