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CAMHS Disability Service @ Hackney Ark

Hackney Ark,
Downs Park Road,
E8 2FP
Telephone: 020 7014 7071


COVID-19 service update

CAMHS Disability - Current Service offer updated mid-September 2020

  • All services are running including ASD assessments and treatments.
  • Early intervention and parent support groups are online including ASD coffee mornings. 
  • The service is working with families by phone and online. 
  • Face to face appointments are offered when necessary.
  • We are accepting all referrals for children with moderate to profound disabilities and our usual service criteria applies. This includes self referrals.

CAMHS Disability referrals email

Duty system running daily from Hackney Ark.

Contact number: 02070147135


For crisis support families can call: 0208432 8020

CAMHS have put together the following documents to update and help families and young people know how to manage their well-being and mental health, with support if needed, during the current government enforced restrictions. 

COVID-19 resources for parents-carers CAMHS (information, resources and links)

Short leaflet that helpfully identifies sources of support for those experiencing different levels of difficulty and includes current contact numbers for a range of eventualities. 

City  Hackney CAMHS COVID Getting Help 

Who we are...

This is a tier three or specialist NHS Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service (CAMHS). This services is specifically for children who have disabilities AND emotional or behaviour or mental health difficulties.

Most of the work we do is with children and young people with significant learning disabilities, autism and other types of moderate or profound disability such as a physical disability.

We have a multi-disciplinary team based at Hackney Ark - centre for children and young people with disability and special educational needs.

Our team includes:

  • administrators
  • play specialist
  • clinical psychologists
  • assistant psychologists
  • systemic family therapist
  • child and adolescent psychotherapist
  • consultant child and adolescent psychiatrist

We have explained more about the way each of these team members work with families further down the page. 

What we do...

We meet with children, young people and families to:

  • think together about any concerns
  • understand them better
  • work on agreed goals for positive change

To join up strategies and approaches we work with other professionals.

These may include:

We work in the following care pathways:

  • Diagnosis and intervention for neuro-developmental disorders
  • Multi-agency pathways and partnership working
  • Clinical Psychology pathways
  • Mental Health pathways

More information is available in our service leaflet

Assessments and treatment...

We assess and treat children and young people with developmental difficulties and disability, who are also experiencing mental health problems. These may be related to a dual diagnosis of autism and ADHD, starting or monitoring medication, state of mind assessments, trauma and attachment or an emotional response to their diagnosis.

We contribute to specialist assessment and intervention groups for autism which include:

  • Complex Communication Needs Assessment Group
  • Next Steps
  • Early Bird
  • Early Bird plus
  • Autism Parents Coffee Morning
  • CYGNET (post diagnosis group)

Find out more in our Autism assessment leaflet

CAMHS Disability - Groups for parent-carers...

We run groups to share skills, information and support parents.

These include:

  • Positive Parenting
  • CAMHS café
  • Teen Troubles

Contact the service or check the website for upcoming sessions.

CAMHS Disability - Clubs for children and young people..

Siblings Clubs for children and young people aged 6 -11 years and 12-18 years. 

Siblings Clubs are for brothers and sisters of children and young people with disabilities or developmental difficulties. The clubs take place during school holidays.

Contact the service for more information. 

CAMHS Disability offer of support through schools...

CAMHS Disability offer a service to schools for children and young people with Autism from across the ability range. The offer applies to children in either mainstream or specialist settings.

This short term work of up to 6 sessions, aims to offer direct help to families experiencing difficulties for example, issues with communication, behaviour, eating, or sleep.

2 assistant psychologists from the team at the Hackney Ark can complement and collaborate with existing autism services in borough to offer school staff and families support.

The 2 assistant psychologists are able to provide consultation, teaching and training to schools, other staff and parents-carers.

Organise and run autism specific workshops to develop a shared understanding of autism by offering practical advice and signposting to local support and resources.

Who is this schools based offer for?

Families of children or young people:

  • with an autism diagnosis (with or without Learning Difficulties) aged up to 19 years in either mainstream or a specialist school setting.
  • where appropriate, families of children waiting for an autism assessment through the Hackney ARK

Similar to the short term 6 sessions model, we hope this will develop into a support drop-in service for staff and families in specialist and mainstream schools. At the drop in sessions staff and families would be offered practical information and resources.

To find out more see the information leaflet and referral form in the download section of this page.

Record Last Updated on: 24/09/2020

Local Offer


Clinical Psychologists 

Clinical Psychologists help to understand concerns about behaviour, emotions and learning abilities in children and young people. Clinical Psychologists work as part of diagnostic teams and are trained in a range of evidence based theraputic approaches to assess and treat the children, young people and families they see. Their support can help families work towards making positive changes.

Child and adolescent psychiatrists

Child and adolescent psychiatrists are medical doctors who specialise in assessment and treatment of conditions that affect behaviour, thinking and emotions. They use their knowledge of biological, medical, psychological, social and other factors to confirm a mental health diagnosis and where appropriate prescribe medication.

Child and adolescent psychotherapists

Child and adolescent psychotherapists meet with children or young people at regular times and places. This creates a safe space to develop a trusting relationship so they can express their view of the world using words or actions. Over time and with support from the therapist the child or young person will begin to understand their own feelings and behaviour.

Family Therapists

Family Therapists help those in close relationships better understand and support each other. They help different members of the family express and explore thoughts and emotions safely. This helps families to understand each other’s experiences and views. Appreciating each other’s needs helps strengthen individuals resources and supports working together to make useful changes in relationships with each other.

Play Specialists

Play Specialists use structured play sessions to help children explore their surroundings, and develop skills. Social awareness, turn-taking, memory and attention, independence and self-esteem are devloped through games and creative tasks. Play Specialists can offer consultations to parents and carers who would like to develop their child’s level of play and interaction. They can also model play skills with parents and siblings, offer play ideas for development and may bring toys to the home. Parents access Play Therapy through a professional referral to CAMHS Disability. Parents known to the CAMHS Disability can call to discuss a self-referral. 

Time / Date Details

Time of day


Other Details

Who is eligible?

The child or young person being referred:

  • is aged 0-19 and lives in Hackney & the City of London
  • has dual difficulties - mental health or emotional needs AND disability
  • their disability has been assessed as moderate to profound defined by attendance at Special School
  • their disability is assessed as moderate to profound defined by a functional assessment, and the child or young person requires specialist support as part of assessment and treatment
  • their disability is permanent and enduring, requiring a multi disciplinary approach to treatment e.g. learning disability, speech and language disorder, social communication disorder or physical disability
  • where the person being referred is autistic, there is also a moderate to profound primary learning disability
  • is being seen by the medical or therapy teams at Hackney Ark for MDT (Multi Disciplinary Teams) care planning.

We are part of the MARS (Multi-Agency Referrals) meetings and lead fortnightly CAMHS Consultation meetings where potential referrals can be made or discussed.

Find MARs information and referral forms here.  

Referral required?


Referral Details

Any professional who knows the child, young person and family can make a referral.  
Please note: Public or e-mail referral from e-mails external-to-Homerton cannot be accepted. If you do not have a Homerton NHS e-mail please make your referral by:

  • post
  • fax
  • phone

Consent from parents or carers MUST be given before a referral can be accepted.

Helpful information to share on referrals...

Please include any information that might help us understand why a child or young person is:

• Behaving in a particular way

• Having difficulties learning

• Finding it hard to play and join in

• Having difficulties with communication and interaction

• Finding skills learning hard e.g. sleep, toilet training, feeding

Parents already known to CAMHS Disability, for example if they received a diagnosis from the service, can self-refer or contact the service for support.

Clients being referred for group work will be offered a place when the next available group is running.

We aim to see all families within 5 weeks of receiving the referral.

What to do if you have a complaint

CAMHS Disability welcomes all forms of feedback, to help inform and improve on the service.

All service users are invited to provide feedback on the service received at the end of assessment/intervention (via questionnaire).

CAMHS Disability managers are available to discuss any concerns or complaints in the first instance and aim to resolve matters quickly where possible.

The Homerton University Hospital Foundation Trust has a formal complaints procedure in place if further action is needed to reach a resolution.

Complaints can also be made through the Patient Advice and Liaison Service (PALS).

The service can be contacted on 020 8510 7315 or

How to Get Here

Limited service user spaces available on site.

Pay and display available on surrounding roads  


  • 67, 76, 243 or 149 to Stoke Newington (Shaklewell Lane Stop)
  • 276 to Amhurst road (Downs Park Road stop)
  • 30 or 56 to Dalston Lane (Cecilia Road/Greenacre Court stop)

Train: Dalston Kingsland, Hackney Downs, Dalston Junction 

In exceptional cases patient transport will be considered but must be arranged in advance with the service. 

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Disclaimer-important information about the Hackney Local Offer

Hackney's Local Offer website is a free and impartial service provided by the London Borough of Hackney in partnership with the NHS, local education, health and community services. The information contained within the website is available for the purposes of identifying services and provision that may be available to children and young people with special educational needs and/or disabilities.

This information does not represent a recommendation or an endorsement of a Service or Provider and neither does the London Borough of Hackney or its partners make any representations or warranties as to the accuracy of the information. Anyone seeking to use or access a service or provision is responsible for undertaking their own checks to determine the suitability and fitness for purpose of that service and provision. In no event will we be liable for any loss or damage including, without limitation, indirect or consequential loss or damage, or any loss or damages whatsoever arising from use or loss of use of data or profits arising out of or in connection with the use of the Hackney Local Offer.

Some providers will be registered and inspected by external agencies, such as Ofsted or the Care Quality Commission. Anyone working with children and young people will be required to have appropriate Disclosure and Barring Service Check (the replacement for the Criminal Record Check), safeguarding policies and insurance in place, which they should make available to you on request.

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