CALDWELL, Idaho — Caldwell Mayor Jarom Wagoner honored local 17-year-old Kylie Welch for earning the Miss Teen Idaho Voice for Autism title. Autism spectrum disorder is a developmental disorder affecting verbal and nonverbal communication and social interaction.
Welch was diagnosed with autism when she was just 6 years old.
“It feels amazing,” Welch said.
Debbie Welch, Kylie's mom, says The Voice for the Autism pageant has helped Kylie in many ways.
“That was a neat way for our Kylie to gain friends, to gain that confidence, for people to see her as just her,” said Kylie’s Mom.
Kylie was introduced to the pageant world by her good friend, Sara Goodpasture, who was the 2017 Idaho Girls Rodeo Association Queen. Goodpasture said she saw something special in Kylie and thought she would be a great pageant queen.
“We went ahead, and we gave her a crown, and she became the Miss Honorary IGRA Queen. And since that, it's been amazing to watch her grow,” Goodpasture said.
From there, Kylie began to travel the country to compete, leading her to the Miss Voice for Autism pageant in Alabama.
“Fun Fashion is when you get to be sassy, and you get to show off your skirt and twirl and turn,” said Welch sharing her favorite part of the pageant.
Kylie is excited to continue her community service work and raise awareness for autism through community appearances.
“And like Kylie's platform, be beautiful and be amazing no matter your obstacles," her mom said. "I think that portrays for everyone, and I hope people can live by that and see that through her."
If you would like to support Kylie through her Miss Idaho Voice for Autism journey, you can make a donation to cover the traveling cost on her GoFundMe account.