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

    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...Read More
  • 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 common is Asperger's syndrome?

    Asperger syndrome is an uncommon disorder and information on prevalence is limited. The disorder appears to be more common in males than females. As diagnosticians become more familiar with the syndrome, its use as a diagnostic category is likely to increase and prevalence figures are likely to rise....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

    How common are genius-like abilities in people with autism?

    Extra high intelligence is somewhat rare in people with autism. Less than 5 percent of persons with autism exhibit the genius-like abilities like Dustin Hoffman portrayed in “Rain Man.”

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

    What are the characteristics of PDD-NOS?

    No two individuals diagnosed with PDD-NOS are exactly alike. However, many individuals with PDD-NOS have some characteristics in common, such as: 
    •   Deficits in social behavior
    •   Uneven skill development (strengths in some areas and significant 
        delays in others.)
    •   Poorly developed speech
    ...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

    What is positive behavior support?

    Positive Behavior Support (PBS) is a broad approach for resolving problem behaviors that are displayed by people with disabilities.

    Problem behaviors may include: (1) self-injury, aggression, and other destructive acts, (2) tantrums and other disruptive responses, and (3) excessively repetitive or i...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 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 tests are commonly used to diagnose autism?

    No test can confirm autism outright, however, doctors may use various medical tests and procedures to help with autism diagnosis. There is not always a clinical need to do medical tests. Your doctor(s) can recommend when, or if, a test should be done.

    The following medical tests may help with...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
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  • 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