We seemed to have worked through the problem and the Pi once again sees the WIFI dongle. Now the problem is that when the Pi is rebooted it does not initialize the WIFI dongle to connect to the network automatically as configured.
The only way to get it started and connect is to perform these commands each time in a terminal window:
sudo ifdown wlan0
sudo ifup wlan0
Once these commands are executed in that order the WIFI dongle lights up and in less two mins it connects to the configured network.
How can we fix this problem? It's very inconvenient for my cousin to have to execute those commands each time he wants to connect to his WIFI network to browse the Internet.