Seeking ND-affirming autism assessment

Hi friends -- autistic parent here with two young kids who I strongly suspect are also autistic. We would like to pursue diagnosis to open doors for accommodations at school and also just to be better equipped to support our kids; we have absolutely no interest in ABA-type therapy or working with anyone who'd pathologize our kids' totally normal neurotypes. I know there are neurodiversity-affirming developmental pediatricians or psychologists out there--anyone had any luck finding one in the Bay? Thanks so much!

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Hi!  You didn't mention the ages of your children, but if they are at least 3 years old they can get free assessments through your local school district.  You could also ask your pediatrician for an assessment.  Otherwise, you can go the private route.   Good Luck!

Hello! My brother and I are neurodivergent as well. :)

Assuming you have Kaiser or  willing to cash pay, my favorite is Dr. Chambers: https://beaminghealth.com/providers/gerard-chambers-psyd-phd-san-jose-ca

He's exceptional and I hear nothing but great things from families about him.

Our child had an assessment with Lisa Greenberg in Oakland and we found her to be very open, respectful and affirming. She is also exceptionally smart and experienced so we learned a lot from her throughout the assessment process.

I would try Osher center at UCSF-- in particular Dr. Sanford Newmark. He specializes in autism + ADHD.  He came highly recommended and it took us a about 8 months to get in. They take most major insurances and they do a thorough screening process. We saw him for ADHD and although we did the whole holistic approach in the beginning while we were waiting to be seen by Dr. Newmark, we had come as far as we could go.  He did meet with my son for about 3 hours to do the initial assessment and also ordered an allergy panel due to my sons eczema. We tried elimination diet etc, but ultimately went with meds.  I like his whole child approach + giving insights to behaviors and strategies to better support my sons diagnosis. It does take a while to be seen, but once you're a patient you have no problem getting appointments.

https://www.ucsfbenioffchildrens.org/providers/dr-sanford-newmark

Psychologists for assessment: Alex Klein, Rebecca Schwartz (though she might not be seeing new people). 

A few places/people who might be able to point you in the right direction for ND-affirming services 

Embracing Autism services: https://embracingautismservices.com

Spirited Play Labs https://spiritedplaylabs.com

Full Circle Collective OT 

Though if you want accommodations in school, your school district (or regional center if your kids are really young) may want to do their own assessment as part of the IEP process. 

My autistic four-year-old was diagnosed about a year ago and it has been a trial keeping him away from compliance-based approaches. 

You’re welcome to contact me directly if you want to chat! 

Molly 

We were very happy working with psychologist Amy Parlin Feldman at Summit Center (in Walnut Creek). She did a neuropsych last year for my kid who was 8 at the time. I found her, and the whole org, very ND-affirming and non-pathologizing. She wrote a thoughtful, lengthy report and was super responsive and supportive and sensitive through follow-up conversations and through the process. She knew how to engage kiddo right away and put him at ease, and was nuanced in sussing out his autism among other traits, when in it wasn't clear right away (and was denied in the past).

In the long list of recommendations, it is true that social classes were listed, and those can I guess be quite behavioral depending where you go, but we weren't interested and didn't pursue them. 

Summit Center has a particular expertise in serving and supporting 2e folks, if that's useful to you. (It's also very $$, but in our case it was very worth it.)