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Dr. Marlene Sotelo

Dr. Marlene Sotelo, BCBA-D, MT-BC, is the Els for Autism Foundation Chief Operating Officer at The Els Center of Excellence campus. She has been working with individuals of all ages with autism spectrum disorder and other developmental disorders for over 20 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. She earned her Doctorate in Special Education from Nova Southeastern University and is a certified special education teacher, board-certified music therapist, and board-certified behavior analyst. As the Chief Operating Officer, 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. In addition, she oversees the operations 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. 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 with the Foundation’s music therapist and Recreation Services Coordinator.


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).


Sotelo, M (2017). Using Music to Promote Skill Acquisition Through the Principles of Applied Behavior Analysis. Statewide CARD Conference, Orlando, Florida.

Sotelo, M.& Hong, J. (2017) Ernie Els #GameON Autism Golf Program. PGA Show & Conference. Orlando, Florida.