At the age of 11, a lively and cheerful Montana Girl came to know that she was different because her brain functioned not same as others; Alexis Wineman has Autism.

Alexis Wineman, with 18 year of age, is the youngest girl competing for Miss America in Las Vegas this year. Miss Montana didn’t always enjoy the same glamour and attraction. She was diagnosed with PDD-NOS (Pervasive Developmental Disorder – Not Otherwise Specified).

In a recent interview, she said, “Growing up it was really hard because I didn’t know what was different about me. One minute I would be really happy and another minute I’d be screaming my head off and I wouldn’t know why. The smallest things could set me off.”

She also told that she used to have very few friends; she was also ashamed of this condition. Students at her middle school used to bully her verbally.

“I was called a ‘retard’ and [was told] that I wasn’t worth the breath I was breathing,” she said. “It was really hurtful stuff.”

At the time she was at high school, bullying ended and she got the opportunity to meet genuine friends. She accepted her autism and started to live with it. With the confidence she gained, she joined pageant life.

“At one point I was living from one meltdown to the other and I was afraid it was going to happen again, but it hasn’t,” she said. “If I wasn’t ready for this I wouldn’t be here right now.”

With the acceptance of the autism, she became aware that this condition can be fought and if tried harder, you can win at the end. It depends on you entirely.


“I have this amazing opportunity to show the world that autism is not a death sentence, but a life adventure,” she said. “Autism doesn’t define me. I define it.”

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