Ricky Busch recalls the day his son, Riley, was diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder — exactly two days before Riley’s baby sister was born.
As an infant, Riley missed a few developmental milestones. Ricky and his wife hoped Riley just needed more time, however, the family doctor got their attention by writing a letter thoroughly detailing her concerns. Taking her advice, at one year of age Riley started speech therapy at home, and a year later, at the recommendation of the speech therapist, Riley was evaluated and diagnosed with autism.
After 7 months on a waitlist, Riley and his parents started an intensive treatment program at Providence in Everett that not only worked with Riley, but with his parents as well to teach them to help their son and build relationships with other families facing similar challenges. “I learned a ton,” Ricky enthused. Ricky took time off of work to attend the program with his son and was relieved when Riley was then able to step into an early preschool program.
Ricky had first connected with Trish Thrush at Washington Autism Alliance & Advocacy when Riley was diagnosed. “It was good to have someone to ask questions to,” remarked Ricky. He also noted he appreciates WAAA’s Stories of Hope, to see “what may lie ahead and imagine what Riley might achieve.”
As Riley started preschool, the family faced more waitlists, this time for Applied Behavioral Analysis (ABA) Therapy. Ricky knew from previously calling ABA providers that accept Medicaid/Apple Health that the waitlists could stretch for years so he was reluctant to make those calls again. Fortunately, around that time Thrush had reached out, needing volunteers to call and survey providers. Armed with a list of providers in Snohomish County and the knowledge of specific questions to ask, Ricky observed that Trish gave him direction and forced him to reach out. By digging in, Ricky found a provider who will be able to meet Riley’s needs through an in-home therapy program.
Riley will be 4 years old in June. “He talks a ton now,” raves Ricky, noting the perspective he has now helps him feel good about Riley and his prospects for the future. “It’s going to be a little more work,” he acknowledges, “but we love him. He’s so loving. We’re really lucky.”