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CAMHS Disability Service @ Hackney Ark

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


Covid-19 and related government lockdown service update. 

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 lockdown. 

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

Short leaflet that helpfully identifies sources of support for a 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 specialist / tier 3 NHS Child and Adolescent Mental Health service (CAMHS) for children with disabilities and emotional / behavioural and mental health concerns.

Much of our work is with children and young people with significant learning disabilities and /or autism. We also accept referrals where there are other types of moderate to profound disability (e.g. physical disability) 

We are a multidisciplinary team based at Hackney Ark and include:

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

What we do:

We meet with children, young people and families to think together about concerns, understand them better and work on agreed goals for positive change.

We work with other professionals to join up strategies and approaches these may include:

We work in the following care pathways:

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

More information about these can be found on the CAMHS website and in our CAMHS Disability Service Leaflet

CAMHS Disability groups for parents and carers:

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

These may include:

  • Positive Parenting
  • CAMHS café
  • Teen Troubles 

To see more information on CAMHS sessions for parents see the CAMHS events calendar

Siblings Club – CAMHS Disability 

(ages 6 -11 years and 12-18 years)

Siblings Club is a group for brothers and sisters of children and young people with disabilities and developmental difficulties.

A video made by siblings to highlight the benefits of the club can be found on the CAMHS stand alone website.

You can watch the video here: CAMHS Siblings Group Video

Find out more: Siblings Club – CAMHS Disability  


We provide assessment and treatment for children and young people with developmental difficulties and disability, who also experience mental health problems (e.g. dual diagnosis of autism and ADHD, medication, state of mind assessment, trauma and attachment, emotional response to diagnosis).

Find out more: ASD assessment leaflet 


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

ASD offer to support  families and schools:

What does this service offer to schools?

CAMHS Disability are pleased to inform schools of a service for children and young people with ASD from across the ability range (i.e. attending mainstream or specialist provision). 

2 x ASD Assistant Psychologists from the team at the Hackney Ark can offer school staff and families support to complement and collaborate with existing ASD services in the borough

This short-term work of up to 6 sessions, aims to help families directly with difficulties (for example, issues with communication, behaviour, eating, or sleep).

The 2 Autism Assistant Psychologists are able to organise and run autism specific workshops and provide consultation, teaching and training to schools, other staff and parents/carers to develop a shared understanding of autism by offering practical advice and signposting to local resources.

Who can be referred?

  • Families of children/young people with an ASD diagnosis (with or without Learning Difficulties), aged up to 19 years across both mainstream & specialist school settings.
  • Families, where appropriate, of children currently waiting for an ASD assessment through the Hackney ARK

In the future the aim is to organise and support drop-in sessions for staff and families in specialist and mainstream schools where staff and families can be provided with practical information and signposted to local resources. To find out more see the information leaflet and referral form in the download section of this page.  

See also: CAMHS - Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service


Clinical Psychologists – help to understand concerns about behaviour, emotions and learning abilities in children and young people, and enable families to work towards making positive changes. Clinical Psychologists also work as part of diagnostic teams.  Clinical Psychologists are trained in a range of assessment, therapeutic and research skills to treat children and adults across the lifespan using evidence based practice.

Child and adolescent Psychiatrist- a medical doctor who specialises in the assessment and treatment of conditions that affect children and young people’s behaviour, thinking and emotions. Their knowledge of biological and medical factors, alongside a range of psychological, social and other factors, is used to confirm a mental health diagnosis and/or prescribe medication where appropriate.

Child and adolescent Psychotherapist - Child psychotherapists meet with children/young people at regular times and places, giving a safe space and developing a trusting relationship in which they can express their view of the world, through words or actions. Over time, the child/young person is supported to begin to understand their own feelings and behaviour.

Family Therapist – Family therapists help those in close relationships to better understand and support each other. They enable family members to express and explore thoughts and emotions safely, understanding each other’s experiences and views. This can help families to appreciate each other’s needs, strengthen resources and work together to make useful changes in their relationships.

Play Specialist – The Play specialist at the Ark uses structured play sessions to help children explore their surroundings, and develop skills like social awareness through turn-taking, memory and attention through games and independence and self-esteem through creative tasks. Play Specialists can offer consultations to parents and carers who would like to develop a 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 service can call to discuss a self-referral. 

All staff have the relevant qualifications required for their role.

Record Last Updated on: 07/05/2020

Time / Date Details

Time of day


Other Details

Who is eligible?

How to refer to us

Referral contact information - CAMHS

Referral Process information - CAMHS

Referral criteria:

  • children 0-19 living in Hackney & the City of London
  • dual difficulties: mental health/emotional needs and disability
  • the disability assessed as moderate to profound defined by attendance at Special School or functional assessment, and where the disability requires specialist support as part of assessment and treatment
  • 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
  • in the case of Autistic Spectrum Disorder (ASD), there is also a moderate to profound primary learning disability present
  • under the medical/therapy teams at Hackney Ark for MDT care planning.

Who can refer and waiting times?

Any professional who knows the child and family can make referrals. Parents already known to the Ark can self refer.  Consent from parents/carers must always be given.
We are part of Multi-Agency Referrals meetings (MARs), and lead fortnightly CAMHS Consultation meetings where potential referrals can be made or discussed.
We see all families within 5 weeks of receipt of referral. 

Referral required?


Referral Details

Any professional who knows the child, young person and family.  Parents known to CAMHS Disability can self-refer .   and contact the service to ask for support. We aim to see all families within 5 weeks of receiving the referral. 

Consent from parents/carers must be given. Referrals for group work will be offered a place when the next available group is running.

Helpful information to consider and share when making a referral to help us in understanding 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

Please note: Public/external-to-Homerton email referrals cannot be accepted.

Referrals can be made using:

  • post
  • fax
  • telephone


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

Can parents & young people buy this service as part of their SEND personal budget?


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)


Dalston Kingsland, Hackney Downs, Dalston Junction 

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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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