Frequently Asked Questions

San Diego Kids First providers are not considered in-network insurance providers on any insurance plans. However, if you have a PPO, we can have our insurance billing specialist send you a monthly super bill for out of network benefits for all sessions with one of our licensed psychologists. Educational services such as in-home executive functioning coaching, academic/educational assessments, and educational therapy are NOT reimbursable by insurance plans. In addition, some insurance companies do not reimburse for in-home or school-based services of any kind. Please contact our bookkeeper /insurance biller, Linda (619-224-6343), if you would like us to check on your out-of-network benefits for you.

Each San Diego Kids First staff member maintains a different fee schedule. Please contact our bookkeeper, Linda, for up-to-date information regarding hourly fees (619-224-6343).

San Diego Kids First fees are due at the time of service, and we ask regular, returning clients to leave a credit card on file with us. One-time appointments can be paid by credit card or check.

Office hours are Monday-Friday. On occasion, early morning or evening appointments are available.

After-school appointments are the most in-demand, and typically are filled 1 – 4 weeks in advance. Appointments throughout the week during school-hours are typically filled 1 – 2 weeks in advance.

This depends on what services you are requesting (e.g., a developmental screen, an evaluation, parenting assistance, therapy, etc. Please visit our services page for more information). The main goal of most initial sessions is to collect information and generate an assessment or treatment plan. In many instances, parents prefer that their children not attend the initial appointment, so that we can discuss things openly without the child present. This is a personal choice, and there is no general rule on which is the best way to proceed. In general, it is always ideal if both caregivers can attend the initial appointment.

Appointments can be canceled or rescheduled via our online booking system, or by calling the office at 858-692-4187. Please remember that you are responsible for the full session fee if you cancel your appointment without 24 hours’ notice.

This varies considerably based on the presenting problem(s) and will be discussed with you at your initial appointment. Although there are exceptions, the majority of families working with one of our specialists meet their therapeutic goals within 2 – 6 months’ time.

Our specialists regularly consults with teachers, pediatricians, and other professionals who know your child well. We also conduct school observations, and can provide detailed behavioral and/or educational plans to your child’s educator(s).

Does your question not appear here? Please visit our Contact page to submit your inquiry online.

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Are you ready for help? We’re ready to start you on your journey to maximize the developmental, social, emotional, behavioral, and academic potential of your child, teen, and/or family.


What Others Say About Us

I am a general pediatrician with a special interest in ADHD, spending about 20% of my clinical time caring for ADHD patients. I have known Dr Pontillo since 2005 and have an enormous respect for her clinical skills and insights. She is my “go to” psychologist for more complicated developmental issues and for diagnosis of subtle high functioning disabilities. Dr. Pontillo’s interest in her patients and her ability to clearly delineate developmental problems allows parents to move forward with establishing a treatment plan. She is an invaluable resource to the San Diego Pediatric community.

Nicholas Levy, MD, Medical Director, El Camino Pediatrics, V. Asst Clinical Professor, School of Medicine, UCSD

Dr. Pontillo is an exceptional, and one-of-a-kind child psychologist. I have referred many children of my patients to Dr. Pontillo and she has always given them the best care and attention. Referring a patient to another professional is a big responsibility. I always look for a colleague who is efficient, professional, experienced and one who is able to come up with a clear diagnosis. I keep referring to Dr. Pontillo because of her expertise, efficiency and especially her warm and caring personality that is extremely necessary when dealing with children. I very highly recommend Deborah Pontillo, Ph.D as a child diagnostician, developmental and behavioral specialist, and therapist.

David Kravetz, M.D., Professor of Clinical Medicine, School of Medicine, UCSD

I’ve been referring my patients to Dr. Pontillo for the past several years with the utmost confidence that she will care and understand their developmental needs. Dr. Pontillo always provided them with a balanced and age appropriate intervention to help not only the child but the family as a whole.

Chrystal de Freitas M.D., Pediatrician Carmel Valley Pediatrics