According to Fox News on Jan. 10, there will be a very special contestant in the 2013 Miss America competition. Not only is Alexis Wineman, Miss Montana, the youngest contestant at 18, she is also the first ever Miss America contestant to be diagnosed with autism.
Alexis Wineman told Fox News that she was originally diagnosed at 11 years old. “For the longest time I just really wanted to know what was wrong with me,” she said. “When I was finally diagnosed I felt like it came too late.”
Although Alexis Wineman’s symptoms are what she calls “mild,” she says that she struggles to communicate at times and also takes things too literally. She also tends to melt down when overwhelmed. “I try my best to overcome that,” she said of her symptoms. “It’s a part of who I am.”
"Most people do not understand what autism is," Wineman explains in her online finalist video. "And one in 88 people having some form of autism -- this understanding is becoming more and more necessary."
"We cannot cure what is not a sickness, but we can begin to understand autism, and help those with the condition to unlock the potential that lies within all of us."
When asked why she should be the next Miss America, Alexis responded that she wants people to see that the Miss America Pageant is now accepting of all types of girls, including girls who may be a little different. (You can see Alexis Wineman's finalist video by clicking on the link to the left of this article.)
You can cheer on Alexis Wineman and the rest of the contestants during the 2013 Miss America Pageant on Jan. 12 at 9 p.m. eastern time on ABC.
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