Adhara Pérez Sánchez of Mexico has always been different than the other kids her age.
At first, her differences made her feel bad about herself. She was bullied at school, and her teachers didn’t understand why they couldn’t keep her attention.
When Adhara was just 3 years old, her mom, Nallely Sánchez, began to notice unique qualities in her daughter. She said the little girl “played with blocks, placing them all in rows, ate in the periquera and always rocked, and could spend hours and hours like that.”
It took about a year, but Adhara was eventually diagnosed with autism. She has difficulties when it comes to socializing, with verbal and nonverbal communication alike. Unfortunately, this fueled some of her issues at school.
“I saw that Adhara was playing in a little house and they locked her up. And they started to chant: ‘Oddball, weirdo!’” Nallely said. “And then they started hitting the little house.”
Being treated this way caused Adhara to become depressed. Her teachers also let her parents know that she was falling asleep in class, seemingly uninterested in learning. But Nallely knew that her daughter was bright and that something was wrong. She quickly put her in therapy, and they discovered something that would change her daughter’s life forever.
It turned out that Adhara was very interested in learning. She was just so smart that she grew bored of the curriculum for children her age. That’s when she enrolled in the Talent Service Center. There, she took a test that revealed she has an IQ of 162. That’s 32 points higher than the score needed to be considered gifted — and two points higher than Albert Einstein’s and Stephen Hawking’s score!
As soon as she started getting the right education, she began thriving in class. At 5 years old, she graduated elementary school. One year later, she finished middle school, and by 8, she had graduated high school.
These days, she’s working toward earning two degrees online at Universidad CNCI in Mexico City. She’s studying industrial engineering in mathematics and systems engineering and has plenty of aspirations. Her biggest goal is becoming an astronaut so she can travel to space or even colonize Mars.
Her mother isn’t sure how they’ll be able to make it happen financially, but Adhara has her eyes set on the University of Arizona. In fact, she’s already learning English so she can one day take the entrance exams. But Adhara isn’t the only one hoping she’ll make it into the univeristy.
In a letter to Adhara, Robert Robbins, the president of the school, wrote: “I was thrilled to read about your incredible story online and to find out that your dream school is the University of Arizona. We have many outstanding space sciences programs, you would have many opportunities to work side by side with the world’s leading experts. … You have a bright future ahead of you, and I hope to welcome you on campus one day as a Wildcat.”
As if that wasn’t impressive enough, Adhara has a few more projects up her sleeve. First, she wrote a book, which is translated to mean “Do Not Give Up.”
She is also working on a smart bracelet that will help parents understand what emotions their neurodiverse children are feeling. Additionally, it will anticipate and prevent seizures and other outbursts.
“I’m making a bracelet that measures kids’ emotions and then parents will be able to see what emotion their kids have by checking a phone, tablet, or computer,” Adhara explained.
She has a long road ahead of her before she can make it to space, but she’s getting closer every day. In fact, she recently got accepted into the International Air and Space Program in Huntsville, Alabama, where she’ll get to learn from aerospace experts and present a project of her own.
What a remarkable child! We can only imagine all the incredible things she’ll accomplish in her life!