The Dan Marino Foundation

Our Mission

Inspired by the experiences of raising their son with autism, Dan Marino and his wife, Claire, founded the Dan Marino Foundation in 1992. The vision was bold and clear. The Dan Marino Foundation mission is to “open doors” toward independence for children with special needs, teenagers transitioning from foster care, and young adults with disabilities.

The Foundation fulfills this mission by supporting comprehensive integrated treatment programs, providing outreach services, advancing scientific research, and building independence through employment and daily living transition programs.

Our Programs Include:

MCH Dan Marino Center: All-inclusive facility offering comprehensive medical services, therapies, sensory gym, adaptive aquatics center, orthotics division, and urgent care center.

DMF Campus One: An inclusive campus serving teens and young adults with disabilities where members can acquire vocational skills, learn vital life skills, stay fit, socialize, and most importantly, gain independence. Web channel featuring films on neuro-developmental issues and personal stories

Marino Autism Research Institute : A “virtual institute” comprised of the University of Miami, Vanderbilt University, Nova Southeastern University, and University of Southern California designed to develop and implement cutting-edge research.

Marino Swim Central Adaptive Aquatics : A required certification for swim instructors working with special needs students mandated by the Florida Legislature.

Life Launch and Summer Steps : Programming developed to foster self reliance in adolescents and young adults with disabilities by providing social, life, and job skill training in partnership with Children’s Services Council of Broward County.

Dan Marino, Sr. Resource Library : The first stop a parent makes for guidance after hearing their child’s diagnosis— providing state-of-the-art technology and media delivery to give families the resources needed for their child with special needs.

Foster Care Services: Independent living program providing wrap-around services which assist youth aging out of the foster care system to ensure a smooth transition to self-sufficiency.


  • The Dan Marino Foundation

    What test can confirm a diagnosis of autism?

    Although autism is considered a neurological disability, no specific medical test or procedure can confirm a diagnosis of autism. To gather more information that will accurately profile an individual’s strengths and needs, a variety of tests, assessments, and evaluations should be administered.
     ...Read More
  • The Dan Marino Foundation

    How can speech therapy help people with autism?

    People with autism usually have delays in communication. The most obvious is when they are nonverbal. Yet people who are verbal may also have serious difficulties. 

    Some individuals can repeat words but can’t use language in a meaningful way which is called echolalia. A speech pathologist who...Read More
  • The Dan Marino Foundation

    How common is autism?

    According to the Autism Society of America, Autism Spectrum Disorder occurs in about 1 of every 500 births, and four times more often in boys than girls. Families of all racial, ethnic and social backgrounds anywhere in the world are affected.

    Source: Center for Autism & Related Disabilities (CARD)  Read More
  • The Dan Marino Foundation

    How can a hearing test help a child with autism?

    Various tests such as an audiogram, typanogram, and the brain stem evoked response can indicate whether a person has a hearing impairment. Audiologists or hearing specialists, have methods to test the hearing of any individual by measuring responses such as turning their head, blinking, or staring...Read More
  • The Dan Marino Foundation

    What is a functional behavior assessment?

    Functional Behavior Assessment refers to a process for identifying the relationship between the behavior and the events that occur before, during and after a behavior. Behaviors are examined in terms of the purposes and functions that the behavior serves for the individual. 

    Source: Center for Autism...Read More
  • The Dan Marino Foundation

    How can occupational therapy help people with autism?

    Occupational therapy commonly focuses on improving fine motor skills, such as brushing teeth, feeding, and writing, or sensory motor skills that include balance (vestibular system), awareness of body position (proprioceptive system), and touch (tactile system). 

    After the therapist identifies...Read More
  • The Dan Marino Foundation

    What treatments are recommended for autism?

    Treatment and educational needs for people with autism and related disabilities should include:
    1. Early and accurate diagnosis increases the child’s opportunity for positive development and success.
    2. Professional services for persons with autism may include speech and occupational therapy and
    ...Read More
  • The Dan Marino Foundation

    What is autism?

    Autism is a lifelong neurological disability that affects a person’s ability to communicate, understand language, play and socially interact with others. The first signs of autism usually appear as developmental delays before age three.

    Autism is classified as a developmental disability because it interferes with...Read More
  • The Dan Marino Foundation

    How does a positive behavior support team work?

    The process of Positive Behavior Support (PBS) begins with the identification of a support team, which consists of the most relevant individuals in the person’s life. The team may include family members, teachers, friends, and/or others who are involved and concerned with the person and the problem be...Read More
  • The Dan Marino Foundation

    How are standardized instruments used to assess autism patients?

    Standardized Instruments are formal methods used to determine different levels of cognitive development. Sometimes when a disability is so significant that it affects an individual’s ability to speak, gesture, or move, special adaptations or modifications to existing standardized instruments will be necessary...Read More
  • The Dan Marino Foundation

    What should I look for in choosing professionals to help my autistic child?

    Choosing a professional is not always easy. When choosing a professional to work with you and your child, it’s important to look for someone who shows respect for the parents and regards parents as experts on their children.

    The professional should convey a sense of hope and have a philosophy similar to...Read More
  • The Dan Marino Foundation

    What special skills do people with Asperger syndrome have?

    Individuals with Asperger syndrome (AS) often have average to above average intelligence. They tend to possess excellent abstract thinking abilities and rote memory skills. One characteristic unique to AS is an intense interest in one or two subjects to the exclusion of all others. Many times individuals with AS are...Read More
  • The Dan Marino Foundation

    What is PDD-NOS?

    Pervasive Developmental Disorder-Not Otherwise Specified (PDD-NOS) is one of five disorders classified as Pervasive Developmental Disorders (others include Autistic Disorder, Asperger’s Disorder, Rett’s Disorder and Childhood Disintegrative Disorder). 

    The diagnosis PDD-NOS is usually given to...Read More
  • The Dan Marino Foundation

    What if a professional labels my autistic child as untestable?

    Many times professionals label a child as “untestable.” This can not be considered an accurate assumption. 

    Individuals with autism and related disabilities may seem uncooperative, stubborn, or withdrawn while in fact the way a test is presented can be too difficult or complicated for them to...Read More
  • The Dan Marino Foundation

    What medical specialists can help treat autism?

    A number of medical specialists can be helpful in treating various aspects of autism, including: 
    • Developmental Pediatrician: A physician specializing in diagnosing and treating children developmental disabilities from birth to adolescence.
    • Psychiatrist: A physician who focuses on
    ...Read More