Miss Montana overcame many challenges on her way to the crown

Alexis Wineman, Miss Montana 2012's, desire to help people with autism comes from experience.

Wineman was diagnosed with Pervasive Development Disorder(PDD-NOS), including borderline Aspergers Syndrome when she was 11 years old. Following her diagnosis came years of counseling, an exhaustive battery of tests and at least one misdiagnosis.

Wineman was often teased and bullied during her school years and avoided interaction with others when she was younger.

“I felt so alone growing up, and I still do at times,” she said Thursday during a conference on autism at the Montana State University Billings downtown campus. “Nobody understood what I was going through. I separated myself from my classmates and spent most of my time alone. I stayed quiet to hide my speech problems. Due to these overwhelming and daily struggles, I looked at myself as a punching bag for others, and a burden to my family.”

 

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