2014 Photographer IndexCotugno_Patrick 2014_cotugno_dana
One look at Max - one look at his bright, inquisitive eyes, his sly grin, his infectious laugh—and it becomes clear: his diagnosis does not so much define him as it does us.
We did not always see it this way. When we first learned that Max might have Autism Spectrum Disorder, it was hard to stem the flow of fear that began to course through our lives. What would become of Max once his diagnosis was confirmed? What would his future hold? Would he have friends? A job? Would he find happiness?
We chose to combat these fears the only way we knew how: by loving our son unconditionally. And it did not take long before we realized that Max did not need us to fear his diagnosis—he needed us to continue doing what we have always done—to laugh with him, learn with him, help him understand the world and help the world understand him.
In many ways, we count ourselves lucky. Max was diagnosed early, and we were able to get him the therapy and assistance he needed quickly. This has enabled us to help him better understand the world around him—to help his light shine brighter, his laugh grow louder. In many ways, we count ourselves blessed, for while we may not know where his path may lead, we at least know what path to follow, and we follow it together.
Jennifer and David, parents of Max