Miss Montana 2012, Student, Speaker and Advocate Dedicated to Building Autism Awareness
Alexis Wineman's journey started long before being crowned Miss Montana 2012, and ultimately the "America's Choice" contestant in the 2012 Miss America competition. Alexis was representing a community, a community of 1 in 88 children in the United States who are diagnosed with autism. Her unique personal story as the first Miss America contestant diagnosed with autism and the third contestant with a disability since the competition’s inception in 1921 made headlines around the world. At the age of 11, Alexis was diagnosed with PDD-NOS (Pervasive Developmental Disorder- Not Otherwise Specified), an autism spectrum disorder. She was in middle school when officially diagnosed but felt different from an early age. As she got older, she struggled with some of the aspects that come with an autism diagnosis, like a speech impediment, communication challenges, sensitivity to sounds and other sensory sensitivities. Part of her struggle was the bullying that resulted because of her differences. Through Miss America, she found her voice and has become a sought after speaker who is dedicated to building acceptance and awareness about autism and encouraging others to reach and aim high, because anything is possible. Alexis’ hometown is Cut Bank, Montana and she is currently enrolled at Huntingdon College, in Montgomery, Alabama.