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 should I ask the doctors and therapists treating my autistic child?

    Just as professionals ask many questions, so should you. Remember, no questions you have regarding your child are trivial or unimportant. You may want to ask some of the following questions of the physicians and therapists:
    • What are my child’s strengths? How can they be maximized?
    • What s
    ...Read More
  • The Dan Marino Foundation

    How is Asperger's syndrome treated?

    No two people with Asperger syndrome are identical. Treatment and educational interventions should be individualized to suit the needs of the person. Supports and interventions may include:
    • Teaching skills and concepts in naturally occurring situations and across settings to maximize generali
    ...Read More
  • The Dan Marino Foundation

    How is autism diagnosed?

    Autism and related disabilities, such as PDD-NOS (pervasive developmental disorder - not otherwise specified), Asperger’s syndrome, and Rett’s syndrome, are difficult to diagnose, especially in young children where speech and reasoning skills are still developing. A child may be three years old before...Read More
  • The Dan Marino Foundation

    How can a case manager help my autistic child?

    Sometimes evaluations and recommendations may be different or conflicting. This can be confusing and exhausting. A case manager or service coordinator can help when questions, problems, or concerns arise. A case manager keeps current records and, when appropriate, shares information about a child with professionals...Read More
  • The Dan Marino Foundation

    What is a positive behavior support team?

    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...Read More
  • The Dan Marino Foundation

    How does Asperger syndrome affect social skills?

    Many individuals with AS want to develop friendships and interact with their peers, but lack the ability to understand and use rules governing social behavior. They have difficulty using and interpreting gestures, judging proximity to others, and maintaining eye contact, all of which may impede the...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
  • 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 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

    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 causes PDD-NOS?

    The causes of PDD-NOS are still unknown. There is a strong belief in the medical community that that the disability’s origin is genetic and/or biological and affects brain function, but specific biological mechanisms remain unclear. There is a possibility that more than one variable could be resp...Read More
  • The Dan Marino Foundation

    What are the characteristics of autism spectrum disorder (ASD)?

    Every person with autism is different. However, there are some common characteristics of individuals with autism that may occur. Remember that although these are some common characteristics no two persons with autism experience the world or behave in the same way:
    • Difficulty in using and unde
    ...Read More
    Andrew Novotny like this.
  • The Dan Marino Foundation

    How does Asperger syndrome affect speech?

    Unlike most people with autism, individuals with Asperger syndrome experience no delay in the onset of speech. In fact, their speech tends to be formal, pedantic and long-winded. Persons with AS often have monotonous vocal intonation and limited use of gestures. They may have difficulty comprehending other...Read More
  • The Dan Marino Foundation

    What is applied behavioral analysis (ABA) therapy?

    Applied Behavior Analysis refers to the direct application of the principles of behavior modification in natural environments such as home, school, and community. ABA uses behavioral principles to improve the individual’s ability to participate effectively in various situations.

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

    What is Asperger's syndrome?

    Asperger Syndrome (AS) is considered a pervasive developmental disorder at the higher functioning end of the autism spectrum. It is characterized by sustained impairment in social interaction and the development of restricted, repetitive patterns of behavior, interests and activities. In contrast...Read More
    Kirsten McCrary like this.