Mother and Child
Mother and Child

Dr. Deb, child psychologist and mother of two provides expert tips and real-world solutions to help you and your child!

Girl with Confetti
Girl with Confetti

Find the answers you’ve been looking for about ADHD, autism, behavior, education, and your child’s social/emotional well-being!

Children Running
Children Running

Learn essential and simple strategies to successfully navigate early childhood!

Conch Shell
Conch Shell

Looking for something in particular? Click here and let Dr. Deb know! Her topics and articles are driven by readers like you!


Hello and Welcome! I'm Dr. Deb - a pediatric psychologist and expert in child development, behavior, and learning. I am a graduate of U.C.L.A. where I obtained my Ph.D. in clinical psychology. I also received very highly specialized post-doctoral training in developmental child psychology at UCSD/Rady Children's Hospital. Currently I have a busy private practice in San Diego, CA, am Voluntary Assistant Clinical Professor in the School of Medicine at UCSD, research collaborator, media consultant, invited speaker, published author, and mother of two wonderful children (ages 5 and 1)!

At you will find research-based, practical advice, guidance, and insights on a variety of topics pertaining to your child's development! Based on questions I have received over the years from thousands of families in my practice, I will provide solutions to these common concerns!

This Blog is continually updated - please sign up to be notified when new content is posted. Have a particular question about your child? Ask me! I also welcome any and all suggestions, comments, and feedback. If you like an article, please share with a friend, or follow me on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. I look forward to hearing from you!

Click the image below to view Dr. Deb's interview on Fox5 San Diego


Topics of Interest

Behavioral Challenges

From tantrums, anger outbursts, defiance and aggression, what parents need to know to successfully manage behavioral issues!

Baby and Toddler-Hood Issues

From sleep habits, eating habits, crying, tantrums, toilet training, speech/language, preschool and more. How to navigate these common hurdles of early childhood!

Developmental challenges

From improving social skills or frustration tolerance, to organizational skills and attention/focus. Covering developmental and behavioral diagnoses such as ADHD, Asperger's, and Autism/PDD. I will share results from the latest research, and discuss the most effective tools and treatments available!

Educational challenges

From educational placement, 504/IEP plans, kindergarten readiness, learning disabilities and giftedness. Tools and strategies all parents should know on how to help your child be successful in the classroom!

Emotional challenges

From improving self-esteem, self-confidence, managing anxiety, bullying, friendships, and family relationships. How to create an emotionally healthy and happy child!


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"Dr. Pontillo is an extremely valuable resource for my patients, or for anyone who interacts with children."

- Lori Daniels, MD, MAS, FACC, UCSD Division of Cardiology