Autism Counselor Rides for Sylvester, and Her Son
Lynette Estrada, Ed.D., knows the importance of the University of Miami’s academic medical programs both as a mother and a professional at the UM-NSU Center for Autism and Related Disabilities (CARD) in the Department of Psychology. Her 17-year-old son Lucas Martinez has an autistic disorder and has struggled with brain tumors much of his life.
In support of the UM programs that have helped her son, Estrada recently helped raise funds for Sylvester by completing a 100-mile century ride in the 2013 Dolphins Cycling Challenge.
Today Lucas receives his educational and personal care from CARD’s Michael Alessandri, Ph.D., clinical professor of psychology, while his oncologist, Antonello Podda, M.D., coordinates the multiple specialists the teenager sees at alex’s place, the Miller School’s pediatric oncology clinic at Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center.
After 14 years as a special education teacher for Miami-Dade County Public Schools, Estrada joined CARD’s Transition and Adult Services Division last July as a transition caseworker. She helps teens and adults with autism disorders, as well as their family members, address issues associated with leaving school and finding their way in the community.
A staunch advocate for children with developmental disabilities, Estrada founded the Dream Team Baseball League for Children with Autism and served on the board of Parent to Parent of Miami.
Estrada’s 15-year-old daughter Naomi Martinez also has been inspired by her brother’s challenges. “She’s been around UM physicians all her life and would love to come to our University and become a doctor herself,” says Estrada.
In support of the UM programs that have helped her son, Estrada recently helped raise funds for Sylvester by completing a 100-mile century ride in the 2013 Dolphins Cycling Challenge. She takes comfort in knowing that her commitment will help advance Sylvester’s treatment and research missions and make a difference in the lives of families like her own.