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Dr. Marlene Sotelo

Dr. Marlene Sotelo, BCBA-D, MT-BC, is the Executive Director of Els for Autism Foundation. She has been working with individuals of all ages with autism spectrum disorder and other developmental disorders for over 25 years. Prior to joining the Els for Autism Foundation staff in 2014, Marlene worked for the University of Miami-Nova Southeastern University Center for Autism and Related Disabilities for 12 years as the Director of Education and Training. She earned her Doctorate in Special Education from Nova Southeastern University where she is an adjunct faculty member. She is a certified special education teacher, board-certified music therapist, and doctoral level board-certified behavior analyst. As the Executive Director, Marlene serves on the board of directors for The Learning Center (ages 3-14) and The Learning Academy (ages 14-21) at The Els Center of Excellence campus in Jupiter, Florida and is the liaison between both public charter schools and the Foundation. She also serves on the advisory board of Keiser University.  In addition, she provides operational and programmatic support of the Ernie Els Centre for Autism South Africa and all of the programs and services offered at The Els Center of Excellence campus in Jupiter, Florida. She is the co-director of The Seaver Els Institute, a research partnership with the Seaver Autism Center. Marlene’s work around the world as an international consultant and speaker, along with the Foundation’s mission to serve the global community led to the development of the Global Outreach Autism Learning Services (GOALS) at the Center. As a music therapist and professional singer, Marlene also spearheaded the development and roll-out of the ‘Reach and Teach through the Arts’ program and continues to provide oversight of the program with the Foundation’s Recreation Services Coordinator. She has written and recorded songs to raise money for children’s charities and has published several articles in the field of autism spectrum disorder.


Shanok, N. A., & Sotelo, M. (2022). A pilot tennis program for training fitness and social behaviors in individuals with autism spectrum disorder. The Journal of sports medicine and physical fitness62(8), 1118–1126.

The aim of this pilot study was to determine the effectiveness of a tennis-training program for individuals with autism spectrum disorder. As a reference, tennis-training program was our Ernie Els #GameOn Autism® Tennis Program

Rouhandeh, A.A., Honsberger, C., Shanok, N.A. et al. Brief Report: Assessment of a Caregiver-Implemented Intervention for Improving Social Communication Skills in Toddlers and Young Children with Autism. J Autism Dev Disord (2022).

Shanok, N., Brooker Lozott, E., Sotelo, M., & Bearss, K. (2021). Community-based parent-training for disruptive behaviors in children with ASD using synchronous telehealth services: A pilot study. Research in Autism Spectrum Disorders, 88, 101861.

Rouhandeh, A. A., Shanok, N. A., Brooker Lozott, E., Sotelo, M., Buxbaum, J. D., Kolevzon, A., De Rubeis, S., Siper, P. M., Foss-Feig, J. H., Honsberger, C. (May 2020). Caregiver-examiner consensus: assessing the relationship between caregiver report and direct assessment of ASD symptomology in toddlers. INSAR Conference. Seattle, Washington.

Shanok, N. A., Rouhandeh, A. A., Honsberger, C., Brooker Lozott, E., Sotelo, M., Buxbaum, J. D., Kolevzon, A., De Rubeis, S., Siper, P. M., Foss-Feig, J. H., (May, 2020). Neurophysiological Markers of ASD: Examining the Relationship between Electroencephalogram (EEG) and ADOS in High-Risk Toddlers. INSAR Conference 2020. Seattle, Washington.

Shanok, N. A., Sotelo, M., & Hong, J. (2019). Brief Report: The Utility of a Golf Training Program for Individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder. Journal of autism and developmental disorders, 1-7.

Wagenfeld, A., & Sotelo, M. (2019). The remarkable ways sensory gardens can help people with autism. Autism Parenting Magazine (Issue 90) 33-37.

Rouhandeh, A.A., Shanok, N., Honsberger, C., Mulhern, M., Huda, N., Brooker Lozott, E., Sotelo, M., Buxbaum, J.D., Kolevzon, A., De Rubeis, S., Foss-Feig, J.H., & Siper, P.M. (May, 2019). Bridging the Gap: Access to Genetic Testing in a Community Sample of Individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder. INSAR Conference 2019. Montreal, Canada.

Sotelo, M., Wagenfeld, A., and Kamp, D. (2019) Designing an Impactful Sensory Garden for Children and Youth with Autism Spectrum Disorder, Children, Youth and Environments, Vol. 29, No. 1, pp. 137-152.

Hong, J. & Sotelo, M. (2016) Ernie Els  #GameOn Autism ™ Golf. The curriculum is written for the Els for Autism Foundation.

Sotelo, M. Improving Social Competence in Children With Autism Spectrum Disorders Through a Combined Strategy Group Intervention: A Pilot Study, Doctoral Dissertation for Nova Southeastern University, December 2009.

Mitchell, S., Hardie, S., Lozott, E., Sotelo, M., & Alessandri, M. (August 2009). Strategies for Successful Supported Inclusion for a Student with Autism Spectrum Disorder: A Case Study. Asia Pacific Autism Conference 2009.  Sydney, Australia.

Sotelo, M. (2007) Make a Difference, Song written, recorded, and released on CD with proceeds going to autism research.

Wise, L. & Sotelo, M. (2003) Autism: Questions and Answers, Journal of Music and Movement Based Learning, 9 (4).