Dr. Sanford Newmark @ UCSF for ASD child?

Seeking recent reviews for parents who have taken their child to USCF's Osher Center for Integrative Medicine to see Dr. Sanford Newmark. I have a pending appointment for my almost-5 son who was assessed by the school district last year as being on the Spectrum. Our main issues are rigidity in play and trouble with self-regulation and impulsivity--i.e. aggression when triggered. I already know he has a dairy sensitivity and he is highly picky about food, which has gotten worse of late.

My jaw dropped when I learned that the first visit costs roughly $1,000. Because it was the school district that assessed him rather than a medical professional (so we don't have a diagnosis code), I'm not sure our insurance will cover this cost, and it would still be a hefty sum regardless. So I'm wondering what I will hear from him that will make that money worth it, especially if he only sees patients twice, a few weeks apart. I know he recommends an elimination diet to identify food sensitivities, but if that's all, can't I do that on my own with a good book to guide me (but what would that magic book be?) Does he do labs to check for nutritional deficiencies? Supplements? I'd love to hear your experience if you've worked with him or another pediatrician at this center. Thank you!

Parent Replies

Parents, want to reply to this question? Sign in to post.

My son is almost 10 and we did the exact same thing as you around age 5. I was pretty hell bent on not medicating my child so I looked up dr Newmark. Really nice guy maybe 9-18 month waiting period or something significant. With dr Newmark, Did all of the things we were supposed to, elimination diet, blood work, vitamins and supplements - it all really wasn’t that helpful. I was hoping my son would be that kid who magically is helped by diet alone. No, he needed medication and I wish we had started it sooner. Adhd and later a GAD (anxiety) diagnosis, likely brought on or just concurrent with the adhd because he’s  also bright but so perceptive he knows he can’t perform to his intellect. If I could do it over again at his age, I would find all the best professionals (frequently written about on this forum), I would find the best school environment I could afford, or homeschool. I would set clear limits and boundaries and hold a good visual schedule that you work through together with him, teaching those executive function skills and lowering anxiety), I would Medicate him (psychiatrist) and likely myself and have a therapist for myself and a support group/likeminded parent friends. I would make sure both him and I get lots of exercise and get outside daily.  I would hire really good babysitters who my son likes who intuitively or educationally have skills to help him and me, I would have him do OT for social skills and regulation/coping skills and I would tell that mom of a 5 year old, who I used to be that it’s really hard until about 3rd or 4th grade (K-2/3 is a bitch with these kids) then maturity kicks in and there’s a decent holding pattern, I assume, until puberty and then new challenges arise. Keep your bond with your child and significant other and yourself and you’ll get through it. Be ready to advocate advocate advocate. And good luck. You got this! 

We saw him a few years ago.16 yo son has a dx of ADHD at that time. Same issues - rigidity, self-regulation and impulsivity. And, big tantrums sometimes.  It was a step we could have skipped, but I think we liked the idea of a "natural approach" . But mostly not helpful in the end. We didn't do the elimination diet b/c my son was only eating a few things at the time so taking those few things away was too hard to manage. He did labs and recommended iron tabs b/c low iron is connected with ADHD. We did add iron tabs, but we didn't see any appreciable difference. We did make it to UC's autism clinic to get a better idea of the diagnosis (which we later got from school), and then got ABA and OT which were the biggest help to us.