First contestant with autism to compete in Miss Florida

University of South Florida college student Rachel Barcellona is trying to inspire others by going for the Miss Florida crown.

The USF junior will make history as the first contestant with autism to compete in the Miss Florida pageant, which is part of the Miss America pageant system.

Barcellona, who currently holds the title of Miss Manatee River, is confidently preparing to compete alongside 34 other women in Lakeland from June 24th to 29th.

She will advocate for her platform, “Ability Beyond Disability,” to show others that “autism doesn’t hold me back.”

Barcellona is also an advocate for autism awareness and is going to the White House in 2020 to lobby for amendments in the proposed Autism CARES Act of 2019.

The proposed bill reportedly the primary source of federal funding for autism research, services, training, and monitoring.

Ms. Barcellona will be on ‘The Joyce Kaufman Show’ with Karen Curtis on Friday, 6/14 at 10:35 a.m.