CAMHS Disability Service - Hackney Ark

Service details

Who are we? 

We are a specialist (or tier 3) NHS Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service (CAMHS). This service is specifically for children who have additional disabilities AND emotional behavioral or mental health difficulties, intellectual and learning disabilities in the moderate to profound range.

Most of our work is with children and young people with learning disabilities, autism, and other types of moderate or profound disability such as a physical disability, genetic disorders, and life-limiting conditions.

We have a multi-disciplinary team based at Hackney Ark.

Our team includes:

  • Administrators
  • CAMHS Clinicians
  • Clinical psychologists
  • Assistant psychologists
  • Systemic family therapist
  • Child and adolescent psychotherapist
  • Consultant child and adolescent psychiatrist 

What do we do? 

We meet with children, young people, and families to:

  • think together about any concerns and understand them better as individuals, a family, or a system
  • work on agreed goals for positive change individually or in groups
  • assess for neurodevelopmental diagnosis

The service works in the following care pathways:

  • Diagnosis and intervention for neuro-developmental disorders
  • Multi-agency pathways and partnership working
  • Intensive support pathway
  • MDT (Multi-Disciplinary Team) therapeutic pathways
  • IAPT (Improved Access to Psychological Therapies)  pathways
  • Psychoeducation (learning about and understanding mental health and well-being)

Find more information in our service leaflet (PDF).

Which other services do we work with?

To join up strategies and approaches we work with other professionals. These may include:

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 (Attention Deficit and Hyperactivity Disorder)
  • Starting or monitoring medication
  • State-of-mind assessments
  • Trauma and attachment
  • An emotional response to their diagnosis

We contribute to specialist assessment and intervention groups for autism and Learning Disability. 

Autism assessment clinics and post-diagnostic parent support groups

Our autism assessment clinics and post-diagnostic parent support groups include:

  • Autism Parents Coffee Morning (support group for parents with children who are autistic including those waiting for a diagnostic assessment)
  • Joint Neurodevelopmental Clinic and School Age Clinic
  • Complex Communication Clinic
  • Next Steps (post-diagnosis group)
  • Early Bird (post-diagnosis group for ages 2-5)
  • Early Bird Plus (post-diagnosis group for ages 6-8)
  • CYGNET (post-diagnosis group for 9-15) we also run these for the Orthodox Jewish community and the Turkish and Kurdish-speaking communities

Find out more in our Autism assessment information leaflet (PDF)

Learning Disability specific groups

Our CAMHS Learning Disability specific groups include: 

  • Positive Parenting (for parents who have a child with Learning Disabilities)
  • Teenage Years (for parents who have a child with Learning Disabilities)
  • CAMHS Disability coffee mornings (for parents who have a child with Learning Disabilities)

Contact the service for details of upcoming groups.

Clubs for children and young people

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

There are 2 Siblings Clubs:

  • One for children aged 6 -11 years
  • another for young people aged 12-18 years

Contact the service for more information.

SEND Local Offer

Training and Experience

Clinical Psychologists 

Clinical Psychologists help to understand concerns about behaviour, emotions, and learning abilities in children and young people. They work as part of diagnostic teams and are trained in a range of evidence-based therapeutic 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 the 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 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 an individual’s resources and supports working together to make useful changes in relationships.

Local Offer Age Bands
Primary 4 -10
Secondary 11-14
Preparing for Adulthood 14-18
Young Adults 18 - 25
Parents and Carers
SEN Provision Type
  • Targeted
  • Specialist

Who to contact

Contact Name
CAMHS Disability Service
020 7014 7071 020 7014 7071 0800 073 0006 (For families needing crisis support out of hours) 0800 073 0006 (For families needing crisis support out of hours)
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Where to go

Hackney Ark
Downs Park Road

E8 2FP

View E8 2FP on a map
Venue Notes


  • 67, 76, 243 or 149 to Stoke Newington (Shackelwell 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

Reception can ring for cabs for patients.


The car park has 10 car spaces including two spaces for disabled drivers along with motorcycle and bicycle spaces. Parking is restricted to clients and service users only.

Service users will need to use the entry-phone to alert main reception of their arrival and be permitted to enter the car park.  Anyone using the car park does so at their own risk.

There are on street parking bays opposite the building.

Pay and display available on surrounding roads. 

Transport to service for some children & young people depending on their mobility needs.

Consideration may be given to the use of hospital transport in very exceptional circumstances only.

Time / Date Details

Time of day
  • Morning
  • Afternoon

Other details

Who is eligible?

The child or young person being referred must be:

  • Aged 0-18 and live in Hackney or the City of London
  • Have dual difficulties - mental health or emotional needs AND Learning Disability or intellectual disability
  • their disability has been assessed as moderate to profound defined by attendance at Special School, EHCP (Education, Health and Care Plan) or assessment
  • 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 young person being referred is autistic, there is also a moderate to profound primary learning disability for access to MDT Therapeutic intervention.  Children and young people without LD can be referred to Specialist CAMHS for MDT Mental health support
  • is being seen by the medical or therapy teams based at Hackney Ark for MDT (Multi-Disciplinary Teams) care planning

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

Referral required?


Referral Details

Helpful information to share when making a referral

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

Where to make referrals

We are part of the MARs (Multi-Agency Referrals) consultation meetings where potential referrals can be made or discussed for children under 5 years of age.

New referrals

New referrals for children and young people aged 5-18 can be made via CAMHS SPA (Single Point of Access). Any professional who knows the child, young person, and family can make a SPA referral

A duty system is run Monday to Friday from 9 am to 5 pm at Hackney Ark. You can contact the Single Point of Access for advice and consultation about referrals at 020 7014 7079

Parent self referrals if already known to CAMHS Disability

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.

Parent groups referrals

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

If you have a concern about the service you have received please speak to your therapist or the person who has been working with you so that they can try to address your concerns.  If that does not help you can arrange to contact the service’s management team via duty. CAMHS Disability managers are available to discuss any concerns or complaints in the first instance and aim to resolve matters quickly where possible.

If you prefer to discuss your concern with someone independent of your care team then you can contact our Patient Liaison and Advice Service (PALS). The PALS team can help resolve queries and concerns quickly and if you are not happy with the outcome then they can advise you on our formal complaints process.

PALS, Homerton University Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, Homerton Row, London, E9 6SR


Phone 020 8510 7315 (Out of office hours voicemail service available)

Textphone 07584 445 400


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