Deb Schlief


January 2019

Deb Schlief, her husband, Nate, and their two sons, Nick and Austin live between Grand Forks and Thompson, ND. They moved to ND from west central MN in 2011. Austin was born with a rare brain malformation called Schizencephaly which has led to other diagnosis including cerebral palsey, epilepsy and restless leg syndrome. Like so many other families, the Schlief’s were told all the “nevers” for Austin such as he would never walk or talk and suffer from severe developmental delays. As a family, the Schlief’s have strived to not accept the “nevers.” Austin is a very typical middle school boy who loves his Xbox, sports and being fiercely strong willed and independent. Austin plays Special Olympics soccer and basketball as well as drums in his school band.
Growing up in a farming family, agriculture has always been one of Deb’s passions. This passion lead her to being involved in MN Farm Bureau as a county board director, treasurer and state Young Farmer and Rancher Committee member with her husband. Farm Bureau was instrumental in helping her find her voice for advocating as well as connencting her with Family Voices of ND through a mutual contact.
Deb is a member of the Consumer Advocacy Council (CAC) for Assistive ND (formerly known as Ipat) since 2015 and is also the liaison from the CAC to the Board of Directors.
Deb enjoys speaking to groups about agriculture, assistive technology, self-care and of course about Austin! She enjoys connecting with other families to help them navigate the complicated systems involved in raising a child with a disability.