Welcome to Make a Difference Monday, the occasional Monday feature that I do to highlight some folks in our world who are inspiring us to make a difference.
This week of course, I want to highlight the two Miss America contestants-Miss Montana and Miss Iowa. It’s probably no surprise to learn that overall I’m just not a huge fan of beauty pageants. I guess beauty pageant isn’t even the correct term anymore and they are trying to de-emphasize beauty. This year certainly achieved that as the talk of the night was not beauty, but special needs.
If you haven’t already heard, Miss Montana (pictured there on the right) is not only the youngest contestant this year but she also was diagnosed with autism at age 11. Her platform was “Normal is just a dryer setting-my life with autism.” And, she made it through a few cuts of finalists! Awesome news!
Now, not to focus on the negative, but I sure wish we could get the media to stop calling her the “autistic contestant” instead of “contestant with autism.”
The next source of inspiration is Miss Iowa, who has Tourette’s. Thankfully I haven’t read any stories that said she “suffers” from it, which in my opinion is another overused and inaccurate word when it comes to our kids. But I digress. She is very beautiful and poised, and to all those folks out there wondering “well, gee, did she drop an f-bomb or other curse during the interview?” No, I don’t think so. You can see a snippet below and she handled the question just fine. That’s great because I know Tourette’s can act up or be worse under times of stress, so she handled her stress quite well. In fact, she had no problem stating her opinion on medical marijuana which is not always a popular one!
I think these two women have much to be proud of. The knocked down quite a few walls and stereotypes last night, thanks!
If you missed it when I posted this on Facebook last week, here it is again. The most recent cover of Parents Magazine. I just love it! I love that there is absolutely no mention of her disability on the cover, she’s just presented as a kid. She’s not advertising some medical device, childrens hospital, special school or therapeutic equipment–she’s just being cute. Way to go, Parents! Let’s hope others follow suit.