Programs & Services
Autism is a spectrum disorder characterized by a complex set of behaviors, including challenges with social interaction, communication, and repetitive behaviors and potential strengths in logic, math and detail oriented tasks. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), autism is now being identified in 1 in 68 children
Autism attracts considerable resources in federal research funding and private philanthropy, but the vast majority of these resources are dedicated to uncovering causes and cures for the disorder. Meanwhile, people who have ASD struggle to build meaningful lives, including finding employment, without proper community supports. That's why the Dan Marino Foundation's programs and services are focused intently on quality of life initiatives. Our work extends beyond ASD to serve others with developmental disabilities-like Rhett Syndrome or Cerebral Palsy-who often face the same barriers to a rewarding life.
For comprehensive information on autism, please visit the National Institutes of Mental Health online.
The unemployment rate for adults with developmental disabilities has remained close to 90% over the last few years. Founded in 2013, Marino Campus provides a 10-month comprehensive experience to prepare young adults for employment and indepenedance. The Marino Campus educational model blends classroom instruction, business internships and social enrichment opportunities to help equip our students for the real world.
Winner of a 2016 Google Impact Challenge Grant Award in the area of Disabilities, ViTA DMF is a unique software and curriculum employing the latest in virtual reality technologies. DMF partnered with the University of Southern California's Institute for Creative Technologies to develop a VR system that simulates the job interview environment. People with ASD often struggle with job interviews. ViTA DMF offers a safe but challenging practice venue.
The Marino Autism Research Institute
The Marino Autism Research Institute, or MARI, has funded the science behind ViTA DMF, as well as groundbreaking research linking gastrointestinal issues to ASD. MARI also funds the Marino Scholars Program at Vanderbilt University. This program promotes interdisciplinary training in neuroscience for future researchers and clinicians.
The Nicklaus Children's Hospital Dan Marino Outpatient Center
The Nicklaus Children's Hospital Dan Marino Outpatient Center provides a one-stop-shop for families of infants, children and teens in need of diagnostic and rehabilitation services. Last year, there were 60,000 patient visits to the Center, including families from as far away as South America and Europe.