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Puerto Vallarta • Riviera Nayarit 

Our Trials as Parents of 7 Year Old 'Dante' Diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder

Mayra and Juan Juarez - PVAngels
October 7, 2014

Dante was born on 15 November 2006 in Guadalajara, Mexico and is the third of three children. In the first years of Dante's life he proved to be a very intelligent boy, his first words said at 7 months, quit the baby bottle at 12 months and began walking at a year and 2 months.

In Dante's first 3 years, he was a prominent child who excelled with maturity and progress in reading, writing and activities in general and used terms of adults in proper speech.

At age 4, he began with kindergarten and it was from that moment where we started to notice changes in the behavior of Dante. It first began with his difficulties in communicating and he began to forget words and phrases that he had previously used to perfection. Then as a reaction of not being able to communicate properly, his frustration initiated the cries that were small tantrums leading to prolonged tantrums, which went on and on and was new and strange for us.

In the next 24 months, Dante slowly lost almost all the schooling knowledge he had accumulated such as writing, color knowledge and skills to perform daily tasks such as the ability to dress and undress himself, go to the bathroom by himself and even the use of cutlery on the table. During this period, Dante attended a kindergarten where they requested us to look for special assistance since he had lost contact with the people to receive instructions and began to be isolated from his peers and his life became as lost.

In 2011 at 5 years of age, Dante received his first diagnosis carried out by the Psic. Edna Isabel Medina Navarrete of "Possible TDH" and was asked to repeat the third grade of kindergarten to support its process of therapy and achieve proper maturity level, so we followed the instructions of the therapist and Dante repeated the third grade until he finally had to leave the school in the middle of the school year.

Faced with this situation, Psic. Edna confessed to us that it would not help Dante to continue and decided to seek support of the DIF where Dante attending therapy for about 5 months without progress or any achievement.

It was then that we decided to go with the neurologist Martin Efrén Fuentes who did a brain mapping and suggested medical treatment for TDDA (Strattera) which was undertaken for 6 months under medical review without obtaining the desired results.

At that time, we decided to leave the treatment side and find a college with special support that could help Dante. Unfortunately we were rejected by many private education institutions, were rejected by the public education system, were rejected at about 4 private schools and when finally accepted, it only lasted for 15 days.

It was at this time when we reached out to the Millaray Montessori School who have given support, love and recruitment to our child's needs. In this school, we met the therapist and special education teacher Jasmine who was the first person who managed to help Dante to concentrate in an activity for 30 minutes and it was she who also recommended for us to investigate if Dante's problems were related to the autistic spectrum.

In April 2013, we brought Dante to Neuropaediatrician Feliciano Santana García who without studies or mapping but based on the behavior of Dante, diagnosed Asperger syndrome (an autism spectrum disorder (ASD) that is characterized by significant difficulties in social interaction and nonverbal communication, alongside restricted and repetitive patterns of behavior and interests) with short term memory and ADHD diagnosis.

As a result of this diagnosis we have sought more support for Dante without much success until we found Psic. Maureen Priestley's "Steps Forward" who has made important progress in a few therapies and who  is giving us hope for the first time with a clearer vision of how to help Dante, but with lots of work and effort.

Here we are today with asking the help of in getting Dante's story to the public.

Since the therapies are too expensive for our family budget, we have not been able for Dante to continue with schooling and the continued necessary therapy but we are doing the best we can. We hope that these resources and therapies will help Dante to learn tools that will help him to navigate socially and personally and that he will be able to continue with his studies. Currently Dante has not been able to attend therapy every day for lack of resources and is of vital importance that he attend at least 5 times a week.

If you can help us with your support in giving our son Dante independence and a better life, we will be eternally grateful.

Mayra Roxana Martínez Fernández and Juan Pablo Juárez, parents of Dante, now live in Puerto Vallarta and can be reached by cellular at (322) 227-2604 or by email at

In advance thank you infinitely for your time and help... We are convinced that with your support we can give a better life and independence to our son.

Translated and edited by Team Angels

See related: Wendy Chung: Autism - What We Know (and What We Don't Know Yet)

Dante nació el 15 de Noviembre del 2006 en Guadalajara y es el tercero de 3 hijos. Los primeros años de vida de Dante demostró ser un niño muy inteligente, sus primeras palabras las dijo a los 7 meses, dejo el biberón a los 12 meses y comenzó a caminar al año y 2 meses. Los primeros 3 años de guardería Dante fue un niño destacado que sobresalía por su orden, madurez y avances en lectura , escritura y actividades en general, usaba términos de adultos y era bastante  correcto para hablar.

A los 4 años empezó con el kínder y fue a partir de este momento donde empezamos a notar cambios en el comportamiento de Dante. Primero comenzó a tener dificultades para comunicarse y empezó a olvidar palabras y frases que dominaba a la perfección, después como reacción de no poderse comunicar correctamente iniciaron los llantos que fueron de pequeñas rabietas a berrinches prolongados acompañado de un sin fin de sonidos extraños y nuevos para nosotros. En los próximos 24 meses Dante perdió lentamente casi todas los conocimientos escolares como escribir, colorear y las habilidades para realizar tareas diarias tales como quitarse o ponerse la ropa, ir al baño solo  e incluso el uso de cubiertos en la mesa. Durante este periodo Dante asistió a un kínder donde nos pidieron que buscáramos ayuda especial ya que había perdido el contacto visual con las personas al recibir indicaciones, se comenzó a aislar de sus compañeros y su vida se tornó como perdida. En el 2011 con 5 años de edad tuvo su primer diagnóstico realizado por la Psic. Edna Isabel Medina Navarrete quien la diagnóstico con "Posible TDH" y con una madurez de 4 años por lo que pidió que repitiera el tercer grado de kínder para apoyar a su proceso de terapia y alcanzar el grado de madurez adecuada, así que siguiendo las indicaciones de la terapeuta repitió el tercer grado hasta que finalmente lo corrieron de la escuela a mediados del ciclo escolar. Ante esta situación la Psic. Edna nos confesó que no podría ayudar a Dante y decidimos buscar apoyo en el DIF donde Dante estuvo asistiendo a terapia por unos 5 meses sin avances ni logro alguno por lo que decidimos ir con el neurólogo Martin Efrén Fuentes quien le hizo un mapeo cerebral y lo diagnóstico con TDDA y sugirió tratamiento médico de Stratterea que estuvo tomando durante 6 meses bajo revisión médica sin obtener los resultados deseados por lo que decidimos dejar el tratamiento de lado y buscar un colegio con apoyo especial que pudiera ayudar a Dante,por desgracia fuimos rechazados por muchas instituciones de educación privada, fuimos rechazados por el sistema de educación pública, fuimos rechazados de a menos 4 colegios privados y donde lo aceptaban no duraba mas d 15 días antes de que lo corrieran. Fue en este momento cuando llegamos al colegio Millaray Montessori quiene le han dado el apoyo ,amor y captación que nuestro hijo necesita. En este colegio conocimos a la terapeuta y maestra de educación especial Jazmin Quien fue la primera persona que logró hacer que Dante durara 30 min con concentrado en una actividad y fue ella quien nos recomendó hacer una prueba a Dante para descartar algún problema relacionad con el espectro Autista. En abril del 2013 pudimos llevar a Dante con el Neuropediatra Feliciano Santana Garcia quien sin necesidad de estudios ni mapeos y en base al comportamiento de Dante le diagnóstico síndrome de Aspenger con TDAH y memoria a corto plazo. A raíz de este diagnóstico hemos buscado más apoyos para Dante sin mucho éxito hasta que supimos de la Psic. Maureen Priestley de "Pasos Adelante" quien en unas cuantas terapias ha logrado avances importantes y quien además nos esta dando por primera ves una visión más clara de cómo ayudar a Dante y la seguridad de que nuestro hijo podrá salir a delante con mucho trabajo y esfuerzo.

Es aquí donde entera la tan admirable labor de ya que dado que las terapias son muy costosas nos hemos visto obligados a sacar a Dante de la escuela Millaray Montessori para enfocar nuestros recursos a las terapias que son prioridad para que aprenda herramientas que le ayuden a desenvolverse social y personalmente y que pueda continuar con sus estudios. Actualmente Dante no ha podido asistir a terapia todos los días por falta de recursos y es de vital importancia que pueda asistir por lo menos 5 veces a la semana.

De antemano agradecemos infinitamente su tiempo y ayuda... estamos convencidos que con su apoyo podemos darle una mejor vida e independencia a nuestro hijo.

Mayra Roxana Martínez Fernández y Juan Pablo Juárez          
Juan Pablo Juárez
Cel: 322 2272604

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