Mayra Rivera, Fort Myers speech therapy

Mayra Rivera, M.S., CCC-SLP, Lead Speech Therapy

M.S., CCC-SLP, Lead Speech Therapy

Mayra Rivera, a speech-language pathologist, joined the FOCUS speech therapy team in 2019.

With 14 years experience as an early childhood K-3 teacher, Rivera launched her career as an SLP in 2009 after earning her master’s degree from Universidad del Turabo Puerto Rico.

“My concern began with my kindergarten students,” she explained. “Every year, I saw more students with speech-language difficulties. But it wasn’t until my grandfather suffered a stroke that I started looking for more information and ultimately decided to study it.”

Following graduation, she provided speech-language therapy to children at the Puerto Rico Children’s Hospital and founded her own clinic, Speakers Clinic in Puerto Rico. She moved to Southwest Florida after a recruiter offered her the chance to work as an SLP for a number of school districts between Miami and Fort Myers.

“I chose Fort Myers and I love it!” said Rivera. She spent time as an SLP at Tortuga Preserve Elementary School in Lee County before joining the FOCUS team.

Fluent in both English and Spanish, Rivera is also a provider of Basic Life Support for the American Heart Association as well as for SPEAK OUT! treatment of Parkinson’s disease.

“I like that children always want to learn,” Rivera said. “They are curious, fun and never give up.”

From her first day at FOCUS, she felt at home.

“FOCUS is a family,” said. “It’s full of people who love what they do.”

Dr. Dean Funk, Consultant & ABA Therapy Manager

M.D., Consultant, ABA Manager

Dr. Dean Funk joined FOCUS Therapy Fort Myers in 2017 as a consultant for ABA Therapy (Applied Behavioral Analysis) services. By then, he had nearly three decades of practicing family medicine in Wisconsin. Now, Dr. Funk’s prime area of interest is with assistance in behavior treatment services for pediatric patients with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) and Down syndrome.

Family medicine is broad discipline compared to ABA therapy, he says FOCUS is unique among Southwest Florida pediatric speech, occupational, physical and ABA therapy providers in its dedication to promoting not just interdisciplinary services, but emphasizing an active role of family involvement in therapy. Children with disabilities are more than those characteristics, and with FOCUS Therapy’s steadfast commitment to holistic treatment, providers build relationships not only with patients but also their families – of special importance through the ABA therapy process of positive reinforcement. 

Just as speech therapists aren’t solely treating a mouth, nor physical therapists a pair of feet, children can’t be effectively if the approach is pretend they exist in a bubble with no impact on their family (or visa versa). Holistic therapy considers the WHOLE child – including the integral role of families.

“It offers us the special capacity to view the child in the family context,” Dr. Funk says. Although therapy is almost never a quick fix, the insight of this unique window into family dynamics allows therapists and support staff to provide customized care, in turn increasing pace and accuracy of generalized skill outside the clinic setting. In other words: Faster, more significant gains by patients means better outcomes long-term.

Dr. Funk earned his Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Illinois and his Medical Doctorate degree from the Universidad Central del Este, Dominican Republic in 1984. The Chicago native completed his family medicine residency from Southern Illinois University. Dr. Funk is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Family Medicine of the University of Wisconsin at Madison, and was a Fellow in Surgical Obstetrics in 1995 in Rockford, IL. He is also a visiting Professor at Capitol University of  Medical Science in Beijing, China. Dr. Funk speaks fluent Spanish and Chinese and is proficient in French. He has also studied Latin, Greek and German. Dr. Funk is certified in Accent Modification for adults (primarily health care workers and other professionals).

He enjoys East Asian language and culture and has an affinity for the study of world history. He is an Aikido student and instructor. Dr. Funk is married with three adult children and six (soon-to-be-seven) grandchildren.