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
    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
    Many individuals with autism and related disabilities require some form of special therapy at some point during their lives. Therapeutic evaluations can help determine if therapy is required to help an individual fulfill their potential.
    • Speech-Language Therapy
    • Occupational Therapy
    • Physical
    ...Read More
  • The Dan Marino Foundation
    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
    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...Read More
  • The Dan Marino Foundation
    Positive Behavior Support (PBS) is a broad approach for resolving problem behaviors that are displayed by people with disabilities.

    The behavior support plan should include a number of components:
    1. Strategies for teaching and increasing skills that are intended to replace the problem behaviors,
    ...Read More
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  • The Dan Marino Foundation
    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 c...Read More
  • The Dan Marino Foundation
    Usually, professionals assessing children with developmental disabilities look to answer questions such as: What areas of development are affected? Can a specific disorder be recognized? What intervention approaches will be most effective?

    Evaluation and assessment are ongoing processes. Once a diagnosis...Read More
  • The Dan Marino Foundation
    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
    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
    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
    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
    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
    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 a...Read More
  • The Dan Marino Foundation
    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
  • The Dan Marino Foundation
    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