Wednesday, January 16, 2013
Gawker-When Alexis Wineman was diagnosed with borderline Asperger Syndrome at age 11, she thought the answer to "what was wrong with me" came too late. "I felt so alone growing up, and I still do at times," Wineman said at an autism conference hosted by Montana State University Billings. She underwent extensive counseling, received help with schoolwork, joined speech and drama clubs, and joined the cheerleading squad, eventually overcoming her struggles with anxiety and self-consciousness. The hard work paid off in full last year, when Wineman was crowned Miss Montana 2012. The 18-year-old is now poised to become the first Miss America contestant to be diagnosed with autism.