Mia Peterson biography

Mia Peterson has lived in Des Moines, Iowa, since August 2005. In Des Moines, Mia was employed for two years at Iowa Protection and Advocacy Services as an assistant to support staff. Recently, Mia has accepted new employment at the Des Moines downtown YMCA. Mia is also employed part-time at ASK Resource Center, a service coordinating non-profit organization, helping develop a new program focused to be a resource for individuals in transition.

Mia spent her childhood years in Webster City, Iowa. However, until her 2005 return to Iowa, Mia worked and lived independently in Cincinnati, Ohio, for 9 1/2 years. Mia was recruited to Cincinnati to be a co-editor and columnist for The Community Advocacy Press, a quarterly newsletter focused on the interests of people with developmental disabilities. While in Cincinnati, Mia experienced several interesting jobs. First, she was a nanny for a family who had a daughter with Down syndrome. Then Mia worked for the Down Syndrome Association of Greater Cincinnati and later for the County Board of MR/DD as Self-Advocacy Coordinator. Also while in Ohio, Mia secured a grant to fund the development of a People First organization. Mia served as president of People First of Ohio for two years.

Several years ago, Mia also started her own small business, Aiming High. Through Aiming High, Mia travels nation-wide providing keynote speeches and workshops on issues of self-determination and independent living.

Mia recently completed terms totaling 6 years as the first self-advocate on the board of directors of the National Down Syndrome Society. She served as chair of that organization’s Advocacy Advisory Board. Mia traveled independently to New York City for the quarterly board meetings and special events. In Des Moines, Mia volunteers with the local Down Syndrome Society affiliate group, Up with Down, serving on committees and as an ambassador for events.

Mia enjoys exercising at the YMCA, walking, singing, playing the piano, cooking, cleaning her apartment, spending time with family and making friends. (Once you meet Mia, you will see why she has so many!).  Here are some of Mia’s other accomplishments:

  • Mia graduated from Webster City High School in 1993, where she participated in cross-country running, theater, and speech competitions.
  • Mia completed public speaking classes at Xavier University.
  • Mia has provided keynote addresses to audiences of over one thousand members, including the keynote at the National Down Syndrome Congress annual convention.
  • Mia is the co-author of a research project on health lifestyles for adults with Down syndrome, published in the Down Syndrome Quarterly.
  • Mia has testified before a U.S. Senate committee on the impact of the Americans with Disabilities Act.
  • Mia has briefed U.S. Senate Committee Staff for the Kennedy-Brownback proposed legislation on health care provider education for counseling families regarding prenatal screening diagnoses.
  • Mia was a torchbearer in Cincinnati for the 2002 Winter Olympics.