Pediatric Language Clinic

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UCSF Benioff Children's Hospital at Mission Bay, ©Mark Citret Photography

The UCSF Pediatric Language Clinic specializes in the evaluation of children with language difficulties at different stages of development, including young children with speech and language delays and apraxia of speech, and older children who struggle with reading, writing, speaking and comprehension. We are closely affiliated with the UCSF Dyslexia Center, and we are the primary referral clinic for children suspected to have dyslexia and other language-based learning disabilities.

Our approach focuses on the brain basis of language problems, and we therefore aim to provide a comprehensive evaluation of a child’s cognitive strengths and weaknesses from a neuropsychological perspective. This includes screening of speech and language skills as well as memory, attention, visual and spatial cognition, and emotions.

The Pediatric Language Clinic team includes Dr. Kevin Shapiro, a child neurologist, and Dr. Maria Luisa Gorno Tempini, an adult cognitive-behavioral neurologist. Both Dr. Shapiro and Dr. Gorno Tempini have expertise in the neuropsychology of language and in the assessment of language disorders in children and adults. We work collaboratively with pediatric and adult neuropsychologists, neurologists, psychiatrists and other providers at UCSF, as well as with schools and with speech-language therapists in the community.

Location

Phone numbers:
Nursing Assistance: (415) 514-8843
New Patient Appointments: (415) 514-5863
PBC main line: 1 (855) PBC-UCSF
Fax: (415) 353-2400

UCSF Pediatric Brain Center Child Neurology
Ron Conway Family Gateway Medical Building
1825 Fourth St., Fifth Floor, 5A
San Francisco, California
Directions to and maps of the Mission Bay office

Preparation

For new families to our clinic:

  1. Please fill out our online new patient history form (our intake coordinator will send you a link)
  2. Email (raquel.guillen@ucsf.edu) or fax (415) 353-2400 in advance MRI or EEG reports, lab reports, neuropsychology reports, school evaluations, and previous neurology or genetic evaluations

Evaluation

At the UCSF Pediatric Language Clinic, each patient goes through a neurological assessment. All patients have an initial assessment consisting of a neurodevelopmental interview, physical examination, and speech-language screening, which takes approximately 90 minutes. For younger patients (age 2–5), we will provide our impressions and recommendations at the conclusion of this session.

Patients older than 5 will typically have a longer evaluation. This includes a neurological assessment, as described above, as well as a neuropsychological screening with one of our pediatric neuropsychologists, which takes an additional 90 minutes. The purpose of this evaluation is to determine the cause of the child’s language difficulties and to get a better sense of his or her cognitive strengths and weaknesses. After these two sessions, the patient and family will be asked to return for a feedback session to discuss diagnosis and next steps. This can take place on the same day (after a short break) or on a different day, at your convenience.

In some cases, a diagnosis will be deferred until more information (such as blood tests, brain imaging, or more comprehensive neuropsychological testing) is obtained. A written report is sent to the primary care physician and/or referring physician on the day of your visit. We are happy to provide excellent referrals for neuropsychology, speech-language therapy, and psychiatric assessment and treatment as needed.

Insurance

It is very important to notify your health insurance company of your intention to see us for an evaluation, particularly if you are covered by one of the following plans:

  • San Francisco City Health Plan
  • Medi-Cal Managed Care
  • Brown & Toland/Health Net
  • Pacificare/Secure Horizons
  • Kaiser
  • Blue Shield HMO
  • Marin IPA
  • AltaBates Medical Group
  • Or any other healthcare plan that requires authorization prior to the appointment.

First, call your primary care physician and let them know that you plan to be seen by neurology at UCSF. You can let your insurance carrier or doctor’s office know that the following codes will be used:

First visit for all patients: 99245 Comprehensive consultation
First visit for patients older than 5 years:

  • 96116 Neurobehavioral status examination (2 units)
  • 96118 Neuropsychological examination using technician (2 units)
  • 96119 Testing by technician (2 units)

Follow-up visit: 99215 Comprehensive follow-up

All visits must be authorized including follow-up visits. If they are not authorized, you will be charged the balance in full at the time of your visit.

Interpretation Services

Language should not be considered a barrier for patients and their families seeking evaluation. The UCSF Medical Center provides interpreters for medical visits free of charge. Interpreters are available for Chinese (both Mandarin and Cantonese), Vietnamese, Spanish and Russian. However, please note that we are limited in our ability to conduct a formal language assessment if your child does not speak or understand English.