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Picture-Perfect ... Finally!

Source: Province

A disabled boy whose class photo sparked international outrage is back in the big picture, front and center, the Times Colonist reports.

When Miles Ambridge’s class at Herbert Spencer Elementary in Westminster, B.C. first posed for its annual snapshot, it looked a lot different from this one. The photographer positioned 7-year-old Miles (front right), who uses a wheelchair, several feet away from his classmates. The image of the second-grader happily beaming despite the shabby treatment—and leaning in just to be a little closer to his pals—got picked up by major media and elicited sympathy around the world.

Miles suffers from a genetic disease called spinal muscular atrophy, which causes muscles to lose their strength. First diagnosed as a baby, he has never been able to walk, but his cognitive abilities are unaffected.

Though his family received an apology for the insensitive photo from Lifetouch Canada, whose photographer took the shot, mere words weren’t enough for them. Miles’s parents also wanted a photo retake—and, as you can see, they got it.

His mother, Anne Belanger, said that the outpouring of public support moved her to tears this week. But now, at the sight of her son’s new school photo, she’s finally smiling again. In the picture, Miles is sitting with his classmates on a bench instead of in his red wheelchair. While some critics argue that removing him from the wheelchair sends the wrong message, Miles’s father Don, whose idea it was, disagrees. He says his son isn’t wheelchair-bound and often sits on his couch or bed at home.

Miles is unaware his original photo made headlines—but his parents are aware of what the uproar accomplished. They told the press there’s an upside to it all, if people remember to be more inclusive of those with special needs. “That’s all anybody ever wanted,” Ambridge says.

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