Autism Support at Kaiser
Archived Q&A and Reviews
We have two appointments scheduled with Dr. Lopez at Kaiser in Oakland. It is our understanding that he is a specialist in Autism Spectrum Disorders. However, our son has been seen by another psychologist who thinks he has sensory integration disorder. Kaiser doesn't seem to have anyone who specializes in this.
We filled out an autism questionaire provided by our pediatrician, and the only red flag it raised was on a sensory related question- does your child sometimes cover his ears? We are scheduled for a full autism screening even though I told Dr. Lopez that my son does not engage in repetitive behavior, is not obsessive, and does not show any other signs of autism. He is a happy, affectionate child who is very sensitive and may have a language delay, though he has been assessed by OUSD for that twice and they found his development to be in the normal range. I do not object to the screening, I guess we just have to rule autism out, but I don't think anyone is listening to me. They just keep asking me over and over if my son makes eye contact. He does.
Can anyone share their experiences with Dr. Lopez in a similar situation, related to autism or sensory issues? I'm afraid that if your tool is a hammer everything looks like a nail, and that my son may be labeled inapproprately.
Most kids with autism spectrum disorders have SI, but most kids with SI do not have an autism spectrum disorder. I have been reading a lot. I'm not a psychologist but I've read the DSM, looked at the categories for ASD, and I don't think my son fits there.
We are scheduled for an assesment by an OT at OUSD, as well as with a psychologist and a speech and language specialist. I am not sure if we will hold our son out a year from kindergarten or send him to a public or private school this year. A lot depends on these assessments. We are casting a wide net, looking for a variety of opinions. Any insights on working with Dr. Lopez or with OUSD, or with the search for answers in general would be appreciated. If you have any advice on how to cope with all of this I could use that as well.
We have a son (now 13) who has been diagnosed as PDD-NOS, an autism spectrum condition. He has seen Dr. Lopez, but Lopez is not the only individual to make that or similar ASD diagnosis. He is very high functioning which makes a firm diagnosis difficult as you have no doubt read. Kaiser did a neuropsychological workup on our son when he was 6 and it was very helpful. Kate Mountain, Ph.D. is the individual who supervises those.
We have found Dr. Lopez to be very helpful. and I do not feel that we have been ignored by him. He has attended IEP meetings with the school district and was very helpful in dealing with them.
I would be very cautious about having your son assesed by either Dr Lopez or the Autism Spectrum Disorder clinic at Santa Teresa. Our experience with Dr Lopez was not very good. After meeting our son who was three at the time he seemed very quick to give him an ASD diagnosis. When I mention that we thought that we thought that he might have sensory integration disorder he immediately dismissed that thought, which is strange since every OT that my son has met since has said,, ''whoa your son DEFINITELY has sensory issues.'' Part of this may be because right now SPD is not a ''diagnosis'' and has no entry in the DSM that is in current use. We found Dr Lopez to be very unhelpful throughout the difficult process to find help for our son. He gave us a diagnosis and then had no suggestions for what to do next, the only resource he recommended was for programs that started with children who were six years old. When I pointed this out he shrugged and said, well I'm sure you must know more about what is available in the community than I do???!!!
The worst part was that after the whole painful excersise with both him and Kaiser Santa Teresea my son was labelled with autism and it appears everywhere on his medical chart... so now every medical visit we have for anything is overshadowed by this... ear infection... oh your son has autism....er visit.. oh your son has autism... well child visit.. oh your son has autism. The thing is my son is 7 now and is awesome, caring, funny but the whole experience follows us round like a shadow. disappointed with kaiser
We had an extremely painful experience with Dr. Lopez when my child was 3.5. Dr. Lopez very quickly diagnosed my child with ASD and then proceeded to paint a grim prognosis and suggested that we pay out of pocket for 40 hours a week of ABA therapy. We felt that he completely ignored any information that we gave him about our child's imagination or social interaction and that he dismissed our questions about the diagnosis. In retrospect he didn't seem to have very much knowledge about children in general. When we told him that our child was resisting pooping on the potty and would ask to put on a diaper to go poop he was astounded and said that was the wierdest thing he had ever heard. He also refused to give us any written reports or diagnosis saying that we should 'start fresh' with any subsquent evaluations that we did. We did manage to get a copy of his notes that we subsequently took to a longer, much more thorough evaluation at Children's Hospital in Oakland that ! found our child was NOT on the spectrum. In the report we got from Children's Dr. Wachtel points out that the CARS score Dr. Lopez gave my child was too low to indicate an autism spectrum disorder even though that isn't how he interpreted the score he gave. I am always astounded by how little skepticism there is about the autism diagnosis these days! People are so ready and willing to accept that autism is everywhere when the fact of the matter is we know very little about atypical childhood development. wish we'd waited the extra months and skipped the appt. at Kaiser
My son was a patient of Dr Lopez from age 8 to 12. Dr Lopez never made a diagnosis. He insisted that my son's issues were parenting problems that could be solved by setting firmer limits. I'd describe him as a ''behaviorist,'' examining cause and effect in relationships without much concern with deeper causes that might be biochemical or addressed through psychotherapy.
Dr Lopez saw my son at least 30 times. When my son started adolescence, his behavior became so challenging (running away from home, failing classes that he had been getting A's in a semester earlier, extreme, sometimes violent anger, etc.) We asked Dr Lopez several times for a referral for a neuro-psychological evaluation, which he refused. We ended up in the Kaiser emergency room because our son was talking about suicide. Dr Lopez was on call and handled the situation in a highly un-professional manner. At that point my husband and I decided that Dr Lopez may be well-intentioned but was not helping our son.
We paid for an neuro-psych evaluation ourselves and for the past year he has been seeing a private psychologist. Our son, at age 13, was immediately diagnosed with ADHD. With this diagnosis we have been able to move forward and my son is doing remarkably well.
I don't understand why Dr Lopez never recognized my son's disorder. Spending 4 years with a patient and not once suggesting that ADHD may be a factor. W