During my road, as an autism advocate I’ve seen many people lend their support towards our community. These women below have used their platforms to help spread awareness for the over 70 million individuals worldwide who have autism. Many of them I’ve had the chance to meet and I have to say they are truly making a difference!

Here are a few that have stood out to me…

Alexis Wineman Miss Montana 2012

Highlights: Alexis was the first woman ever with autism to compete in the Miss America pageant. Alexis has shown our community that there sure is plenty of hope out there. Today she travels the country as a motivational speaker and has spoken about autism with amazing advocates such as Dr. Temple Grandin.

Bailey Gumm Miss Truckee Meadows

Highlights: Bailey who competed in the most recent Miss Nevada Pageant has been not only spreading autism awareness but sibling awareness as well. Bailey’s younger brother is on the spectrum and Bailey has used her platform to contribute to others like him. She has written blogs for Autism Speaks and is a board member for the Autism Coalition of Nevada.

Marcie Trivette Miss Raleigh USA 2014

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Highlights: Like Bailey, Marcie’s journey to be an autism advocate starts with her younger brother who’s on the autism spectrum. Marcie today is a model, spokesperson, speaker, and advocate for those with autism and other special needs and has worked with organizations such as Autism Speaks and the Autism Society of America to help with the cause.

Elizabeth Horton Miss North Carolina 2006

Highlights: Elizabeth who is now a meteorologist in Raleigh, NC, devoted much of her efforts during her pageant tour to help spread autism awareness. She for a short time worked as a therapist for children with autism at Autism Outreach Inc.

Renee Wronecki Miss Illinois USA 2015

Highlights: Renee has gone through much adversity throughout her life. Diagnosed with skin cancer, Renee drastically changed her lifestyle and now is cancer free today. She has helped spread awareness mainly through the organization Autism Speaks; the charity she says is the closest to her heart because of her little brother who has autism.

Sheridan Pope Miss Montana 2013

Highlights: Sheridan’s platform “Possibilities for Disabilities: Inclusion Education” sparked her journey to educate her community about those with special needs. Sheridan’s sister who is on the autism spectrum today is one of her best friends. Sheridan said it best in a Q&A with Autism Speaks, “Be proud of who you are and always be accepting.”

Audrey Banach Miss Kansas USA 2014

Highlights: Audrey, a brother of Alpha Xi Delta and Autism Speaks volunteer has made a significant impact in the community as an autism advocate. Audrey wanted to learn more about the cause after her cousin was diagnosed with Asperger’s.

Rachel Barcellona Miss Florida Collegiate America 2015

Highlights: Last but not least. Rachel Barcellona is an inspiring young adult with autism. Her platform “The Ability beyond Disability” is concentrated on autism and other disabilities. One of our favorite quotes from Rachel: “I hope you enjoy following my year building respect and values for everyone!”

Who would you add to this list? Tell us in the comments!

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