To some critics, Palin is playing the worst sort of politics -- using her child's circumstances to reach a key constituency of voters. But Imparato doesn't see it that way.
"Is she exploiting her child with a disability -- as a mother of a new child with a disability? Yes, she probably is," Imparato said. "But she's also exploiting that she's a hockey mom, that she's young and that she's the governor of Alaska. When you're a politician, you employ whatever you have. If this is one of the things that differentiates her from one of the candidates, it's fair game to talk about it as a political issue."
As she often does on the campaign trail, Palin today described the challenge she faced when she found out her son Trig would be born with Down syndrome, but says it has given her a newfound focus to advocate for special needs children.
"When I learned that Trig would have special needs, honestly, I had to prepare my heart," Palin said. "I did a lot of praying for that understanding, and strength, and to see purpose. And what's been confirmed in me is every child has something to contribute to the world if we give them that chance."