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Special School District of St. Louis County
Student Crowned Missouri
Miss Amazing Preteen

Natalie Taylor loves art, getting dressed up and traveling. Participating in the Missouri Miss Amazing Pageant allows her to do many of the things that she enjoys.

Natalie, a student who receives services from SSD at Truman Middle School in the Lindbergh School District, earned the Missouri Miss Amazing Preteen crown at the state pageant.

The Missouri pageant features contestants in a variety of age categories from throughout the state, and it celebrates girls with physical and other disabilities.

Natalie gained confidence and self-esteem by participating and winning the preteen title, said Julie Grassi, SSD physical therapist.

“The pageant helped Natalie realize the things that she can do,” said Grassi. “She is learning to advocate for herself and focus on her strengths rather than her limitations.”

In addition to having been diagnosed with autism, Natalie has Charcot Marie Tooth disease, which results in the progressive loss of muscle tissue. Grassi works with Natalie to regain flexibility and strength in her legs and core muscles.

“She is a beautiful girl, both inside and out,” said Grassi. “I am so proud that she has not allowed her physical limitations to hold her back from participating in activities.”

Laurie Taylor, Natalie’s mother, said the Missouri Miss Amazing Pageant is truly a wonderful experience. She said, “It celebrates the beauty of women and girls with special abilities. I am so proud of Natalie for having the confidence to be a part of it.”

As the winner of the Missouri competition, Natalie has been busy with official special appearances as well as representing her division in the national competition this summer at the Freud Playhouse at the University of California Los Angeles. The national pageant coincided with the World Special Olympics and the pageant contestants played a role in the event.

“When I won my title, I was so happy that I was in tears," said Natalie. "I would like to see more girls participate.”

Natalie said she enjoyed getting dressed up. Contestants interviewed with the judges, walked on stage, introduced themselves and wore formal dresses.

Laurie Taylor said she would encourage others to participate in the Missouri Miss Amazing Pageant. “I love that they celebrate girls and women with different abilities. And I love watching the faces of all the participants enjoying their moment in the spotlight and hearing applause and cheers from their families.”

For more information on the Miss Amazing Pageant, visit

Published June 2015

Natalie Taylor
Natalie Taylor

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Special School District of St. Louis County (SSD) is a leader in providing special education services to students with disabilities and also provides a wide range of career and technical education programs.
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