Maybe other people would look at this photo and see two happy teens.
I see that, too.
Here's what I also see:
I see these boys looking like any cute boys at any prom.
I see friendship.
I see maturity and independence.
I see Max flashing a peace sign, a gesture he picked up from a peer—not from me or Dave, cause we never taught him that. It is awesome to know your child is learning cool things from his friends.
And, whoa! He is holding those two fingers apart pretty well, a true feat of fine-motor-skills.
I see a boy who continues to evolve physically and cognitively. When he was a little guy, I just wanted the happy ending. Now I know there is no actual ending—and that's a good thing. When you have a child with special needs, there is no expiration date on progress.
When you look at photos of your child, I'll bet you see stuff other that other people might not see.
A head held up without support or a child sitting on his own, at last.
A hand that's not fisted.
A body moving in a new way—rolling over, propped up on hands, leaning on a couch for support.
Your child looking straight into the camera lens, not something that always happens.
Your child holding a food or drink independently or trying a new one.
Your child participating in an activity or event you never thought he could.
Your child interacting with family or friends in a way you never imagined.
Your child loving life, despite grim predictions you may have heard from doctors. Perhaps they told you the worst but your child, so full of joy, did not get that memo. Your child who keeps proving them wrong. Your child who, to others, may seem not "typical" but who is perfectly wonderful to you.
Yes. This is what we see.