My name is Charles Loyd. I am the proud parent of an amazing 4-year-old boy. Almost 18 months ago my son started his first week of class in ECSE. I’ll have to admit I was nervous & skeptical going in. I had zero knowledge of Early Intervention let alone ASD & Autism was a “bad word” in my mind. I didn’t want to accept that something could be “wrong” with my son & therefore, he needed no “fixing.” Strangely enough, at the time class began, I was sidelined from work due to a broken foot & had nothing else on my clock but to attend these classes. I was depressed & unbearably negative. After a few weeks with ECSE I started to feel differently. I accepted that my lack of knowledge about Autism had bred fear & my ignorant assumptions of what Autism was had probably hurt somebody’s feelings at some point in my life. We started learning very fast what ASD was & what it was not. After several months in ECSE I watched my son learn & grow. He became easier to communicate with & displayed less repetitive behavior. I also witnessed the other children in our class climb mountains (ascertain goals that seemed far fetched) in a short amount of time. I started out thinking “How pointless this program was!” and halfway through I was wondering “How did anyone ever make it without these programs?” I spent every day in the last half of the year rooting for these kids to WIN. 18 months later my son is doing absolutely wonderful & is currently attending class in the ECSE program. We have conversations & we play every day & learn as much as we can. We have many battles ahead & much to learn. Some days are very very challenging but without EI/ECSE I don’t know where we would be right now. This program is VITAL to our parents & children in every community. Not only does it educate & inform the families dealing with the challenges of Autism Spectrum Disorder, but it helps empower those around us to educate their children & loved ones. Thank you for the support & continued effort. We can only HOPE that this program will grow & be here for generations to come!