Amerigroup Foundation Helps to Standardize Autism Screening Practices

Jun 03, 2010, 16:01 ET from The Amerigroup Foundation

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va., June 3, 2010 /PRNewswire/ -- The Amerigroup Foundation today presented Pathfinders for Autism with a $16,800 donation to be used to purchase 240 autism toolkits that will be distributed to pediatric practices across Maryland.

In partnership with the American Academy of Pediatrics-Maryland Chapter, Pathfinders for Autism is active in a State of Maryland pilot program to train health care professionals on the importance of standardizing developmental screening tools at recommended intervals. These DVD toolkits, which will be combined with customized local resources and information from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), will allow pediatricians to share early autism identification information, effective therapies, treatments and social activities with families affected by the complex neurological disorder.  

This partnership and the toolkits will ensure that children with developmental delays are identified sooner and referred for intervention services at an earlier age.

"We are excited to support Pathfinders for Autism in the drive to educate providers and help more children live happier and more productive lives," Amerigroup Foundation Chairman John E. Littel said.  "It is at the very core of our mission as a Company."

"The State of Maryland is committed to developing a long-term, comprehensive approach to supporting children and adults on the autism spectrum," Maryland House of Delegates Speaker Michael E. Busch said. "Innovative partnerships, like the support from the Amerigroup Foundation and Pathfinders that we celebrate today are an important step to ensuring rich, productive lives for people on the spectrum."

The CDC estimates that 1 in 110 children has autism and approximately 80 percent are boys. In Maryland, estimates are 1 in every 142 children.

"Relationships with generous supporters such as the Amerigroup Foundation are what make our work possible," Pathfinders for Autism President B.J. Surhoff said. "Research has shown that early diagnosis and intervention are keys to helping children with autism. As we celebrate our organization's 10th anniversary, we appreciate the partnership with Amerigroup to help further our efforts in early detection."  

About the Amerigroup Foundation

The Amerigroup Foundation is the philanthropic arm of Amerigroup Corporation, a multi-state managed health care company based in Virginia Beach, Virginia. The Foundation works to create healthy communities by fostering access to health care, encouraging safe and healthy children and families, and promoting community improvement and healthy neighborhoods. For more information about the Amerigroup Foundation, visit

About Pathfinders for Autism

Pathfinders for Autism is a parent-sponsored, nonprofit organization dedicated to improving the lives of individuals with autism and their families. For more information, visit

Contact: Tara J. Wall

Amerigroup Corporation

Senior Vice President, Communications

(757) 518-3671

SOURCE The Amerigroup Foundation