February 11, 2009
Dear Governor Rounds,
We are writing to ask that you maintain funding for South Dakota's "Birth to Three" program. Although this is not a program that directly benefits our family, we are well aware of its value.
We have an autisitc son, age 14. Although he did not grow up in South Dakota or use "Birth to Three" here, we can say with confidence that such programs are of value to citizens and the State.
Autism diagnoses are on the rise, and early detection and responses are best for the children, their families and for local schools which will be their primary points of service until adulthood. The first three years of life are critical to the diagnosis of autism and to planning effective strategies for these children.
Although these are difficult days for the State budget, we hope you will give weight to the short and long term values of "Birth to Three."
This comes with our prayers and thanks for your public service.
The Rev. Timothy & Melissa Fountain