South Florida Hospital News
Thursday October 18, 2018

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December 2005 - Volume 2 - Issue 6




Miami Childrenís Hospital Dan Marino Center Scores High with Children and Families

Parents of children with physical and developmental disabilities often find that locating effective services and getting their children around to all of the various sites for evaluation and therapy appointments can be frustrating and exhausting. But for families in South Florida, this responsibility is eased significantly by the presence of the Miami Childrenís Hospital Dan Marino Center. This comprehensive center, the only one of its kind in South Florida, brings all of the essential services together under one roof, offering busy, stressed parents a "one-stop shopping" option that makes life easier for the entire family.

One parent who knows first-hand of the value of such a facility is Dan Marino himself.

"When our son Michael was diagnosed with autism, we were fortunate to have the means to find good care for him," Marino recalls. "From that experience, my wife Claire and I decided that we wanted to do what we could to help other families, and thatís how the idea of the Dan Marino Center started. We worked together with Dr. Roberto Tuchman and the Miami Childrenís Hospital to build the Center.

"Today, itís just an amazing place. Itís very special for Claire and I when a parent comes up to us and says that their child received treatments at the Center and is doing well."

Two children receiving treatment at the Dan Marino Center get a chance to meet the Dolphins Hall of Fame quarterback in person.

The MCH-Dan Marino Center is a freestanding outpatient facility, located in Weston, which specializes in the diagnosis, evaluation and treatment of children at risk for neurodevelopmental and psychological problems. In a warm and family-friendly setting, the Center cares for children with problems including autism, ADD, cerebral palsy, developmental delays, seizure disorders and feeding and speech problems. Having an interdisciplinary, integrated roster of services means more effective care, as it fosters collaboration among the entire therapeutic team. In an environment that houses pediatric neurologists, nurse practitioners, nurses, physical therapists, speech and language therapists, occupational therapists, psychologists, social workers, audiologists and behavioral therapists, no stone is left unturned in the MCH-Dan Marino Centerís quest to offer each child the opportunity to fulfill his or her individual potential. Teams of pediatric professionals convene regularly to review each childís treatment plan and modify it as needed.

The Center offers special programs, such as a feeding and swallowing program, and an annual summer camp known as Camp DMC, staffed by Center therapists. The camp gives children a chance to have summer fun and recreation while promoting their motor, socialization and communication skills. For families, there is a Resource Room, where they are welcome to browse and take advantage of the many materials available to help them become educated about their childís treatment, as well as educational seminars and support groups.

Albert Rego, administrator of the MCHĖDan Marino Center, says that while developmental services form the core of the centerís program, there are additional sub-specialty offerings that are available as the need arises. Those include EEG services, Radiology, ENT, Ophthalmology, Cardiology, Nephrology, Plastic Surgery and Clinical Genetics.

The MCH-Dan Marino Center treats children from birth through age 21 and serves an unlimited geographic area, with almost half of the clients coming from beyond the Miami area. In fact, the Center has earned such a positive reputation that it is attracting more and more referrals from the international community. In the past few years, children and families have come from Europe, South America, the Caribbean and Central America, seeking the excellent, interdisciplinary care that has become the Centerís signature.

This is especially remarkable considering that the Dan Marino Center is only seven years old. Founded in 1998, it is part of Miami Childrenís Hospital, whose main campus is near Coral Gables. The MCH-Dan Marino Center is a joint venture of the hospital, the Miami Childrenís Hospital Foundation and the Dan Marino Foundation. The Center has, without question, filled an enormous need, as it currently serves over 20,000 children annually. Expansion plans are underway, with the goal of adding another 5,000 square feet to extend the neurology and rehab departments and to create an innovative new gymnasium. The new gym will be part of the rehab department and will be a Developmental Orthopaedic Gym Ė one that will focus on orthopaedics rather than neurology.

"The present rehab gym is geared to the children who have developmental sensory/motor problems, not physical injuries," says Rego. "The additional gym will be for the kids who have traumatic or sports injuries."

Grateful parents fill Regoís mailbox with letters and cards, praising the staff for the wonderful care that makes a truly meaningful difference in the lives of thousands of infants, children, teens and young adults, and their families, each year. Making a difference is the motivation for the team of pediatric professionals at the Center. As Rego puts it, "Meeting the needs of children and families, and doing it at this level of high quality, knowing that children can come here and get the very best care available, is so satisfying to all of us here. When our care yields the best possible outcome, when a child is able to reach his or her individual potential, because of our hard work, we feel so rewarded. We often see great results here and we know that those outcomes mean a better quality of life for a child."

For more information about the Miami Childrenís Hospital Dan Marino Center, call toll-free at 1-866-558-6510 or visit the web site,
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