Hackney Ark - Children and young people's centre for development and disability

Service details

Coronavirus service updates 

Services at Hackney Ark have returned to face to face working though some services will continue to offer some telephone or video appointments in addition to face to face.

Please see our leaflet which details questions you need to answer before attending your appointment (PDF) and explains what to expect at the appointment.

Who are we? 

Hackney Ark is Hackney's diagnostic and specialist outpatients NHS service for children and young people with disabilities and additional needs.

Services are provided from a central building, Hackney Ark, and in the community or home if appropriate. 

The centre brings together services from across education, health and social care to provide integrated multi-disciplinary oversight and responses to the needs of disabled children and their families.

You can find detailed accessible information about Hackney Ark here.  

A sensory area is on offer for children waiting for appointments. 

How can we help parents, carers, children and young people? 

The aim of services at Hackney Ark is to:

  • Work in partnership with parents and young people to place them at the centre of decision making. This is also called person centred planning
  • Provide information, advice and support and or a diagnosis of needs where appropriate.
  • Provide a joined up approach to assessment, diagnoses, treatment, intervention and support.
  • Communicate clearly with parents, children and the team around the family taking a "tell it once" approach.
  • Work flexibly and openly to support families to lead everyday lives.

A wide range of support and therapy is on offer at Hackney Ark. 

Information and signposting services at Hackney Ark

There are 3 specialist information, advice and support services who work from Hackney Ark. 

Hackney Ark's Resource Centre offers families useful information about services, processes and opportunities. These include local and national services that may be of interest to families and young people. 

It is also used as a welcoming venue for drop in information and support sessions run by parent support groups for example Hackney Independent Forum for Parent-carers of Children with Disabilities HiP and services within the centre running sessions for parents. 

The Key Working Team provide support to children with complex health and social needs aged between 0 – 25. Most children supported by the service are under 5, new to Hackney or newly diagnosed need to be introduced to local services. 

Hackney SENDIAGS (Special Educational Needs and Disability Information, Advice and Guidance Service) is a free specialist information advice and support service for parents and carers of children and young people with SEND. Impartial, confidential and arms length from other services. SENDIAGS offer a programme of information workshops and 1:1 advice. This service is not based at Hackney Ark anymore but can meet parents at and work from the Resource Centre. 

Assessment and diagnostic services at Hackney Ark

Complex Communication Clinic (CCC) is a specialist NHS autism assessment and diagnostic service for children aged 0-5 years old. The team who make the assessment of your child include; a Children’s doctor (Paediatrician), an Occupational Therapist, a Speech and Language Therapist (to help with talking, understanding, making friends, eating and drinking) and a Clinical Psychologist.

Social Communication Assessment Clinic (SCAC) is an autism assessment service for children and young people who are aged 5 to 18 years and do not also have a learning disability. Professional referral required from GP, SENCo or other proffessional service provider working with the child, young person or family. 

Multi-Agency Referrals (MARs) are multi-sector, Education, Health and Social Care, meetings that coordinate services for children with complex and multiple health & care needs. Referrals must be from professionals or GPs working with the child or young person and cannot be accepted if relevant information is not made available. 

Medical Services at Hackney Ark

Community Paediatricians are specialist children's doctors who take a key role in the supervision and coordination of care for the individual child or young person and their family.

Children's Audiology Services see children with difficulties concerning their hearing or balance. They offer hearing tests, diagnosis of hearing problems and hearing aids where appropriate. The service provides long term review and monitoring of children with a permanent hearing loss. 

The Children's Continence Service assists parents-carers with the management of day or night wetting, and in some cases, where there is also bowel soiling.The service includes the Paediatric Continence Clinic, the Toileting Advisory Service, a specialist drop-in parent advice session. 

The Community Children's Nursing Team are a team of qualified children’s nurses who work to prevent hospital admission and help children return home early from stays in hospital. They support and enable families to care for their child with nursing needs arising from medical conditions, life limiting or life threatening conditions. 

The School Medical Service assess unmet health needs of pupils and where appropriate reviews pupils with long term health conditions or disabilities, especially when they are impacting on their education. Pupils can be referred to the School Medical Service where there are concerns that they may have a medical condition which is not being fully managed elsewhere or when additional information is required.

Therapy Services at Hackney Ark

First Steps Early Intervention Community Psychology Service is an NHS psychology service for children and young people and their families. The aim of Fist Steps services are to offer early help with any difficulties related to behaviour, emotions and relationships, before they become more complicated or difficult to address.

CAMHS Disability Service is a tier three or specialist NHS Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service (CAMHS). The service is specifically for children who have disabilities AND emotional or behavioural or mental health difficulties. Most of our work is with children and young people with significant learning disabilities, autism and other types of moderate or profound disability such as a physical disability.

The Speech and Language Therapy service start by assessing a child and young person. This may be an interview with the parent or carer, followed by observation and direct work with the child or young person. The therapists work with Early Years settings, nurseries, academies, schools and colleges to support speech, language and communication for children and young people with identified needs. They can provide advice and training to families and teaching staff. This might be about adults changing how they support a child or doing some special activities to help develop communication skills. Speech and Language Therapists may be involved in developing targets so that everyone is working towards the same goals for your child. They may also run groups for parents or school staff targeting a specific area of need.

The Occupational Therapy (OT) team assesses children aged 0 - 18 who are  experiencing functional difficulties with everyday tasks due to a physical and or neurological disability. The team also assesses coordination sensory and learning difficulties and developmental delay. Depending on the identified needs of the child, the family are then offered either; advice from professionals within the team, a series of treatment sessions and advice to work towards an agreed goal or outcome. For children with physical disabilities the service assesses and makes recommendations about equipment and adaptations in the school and home environment. Occupational Therapists also run workshops for parents and carers on sensory processing and self-regulation. 

Physiotherapy assess and provide interventions for children who have difficulties with mobility and gross motor tasks like sitting, standing and walking due to disability or developmental delay. The service can carry out assessments and provision of equipment where appropriate. 

Therapy Transition is support to help young people in specific therapy services and their families to plan and prepare for moving from children’s therapy services to adult services. Therapists work closely with students who attend special schools in Hackney. 

Children and young people's Social Support Services at Hackney Ark

Short Breaks Hit Squad are a team of health therapists who work with children and young people and their chosen leisure or activity provider to make sure they are fully included and can enjoy the opportunity and activities. 

Targeted Health Outreach work with young people who have additional needs and or disabilities but have no input from social work services. The age of young people we can work with is 14 - 19. The service provides support with developing independence and improving health outcomes. 

Hackney Captains is a Young Person's group to share their experiences of using services at Hackney Ark and ideas on how to make them better. Be heard, make a difference, meet other young people, learn new skills, eat pizza. Meeting are either after school time or in the school and college holidays. 

SEND Local Offer

Local Offer Age Bands
Early Years and Pregnancy 0-4
Primary 4 -10
Secondary 11-14
Preparing for Adulthood 14-18
Young Adults 18 - 25
SEN Provision Type
  • Targeted
  • Specialist

Who to contact

020 7014 7000 020 7014 7000
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Where to go

Hackney Ark
Downs Park Road

E8 2FP

View E8 2FP on a map
Venue Notes


30, 56, 67, 76, 149, 243, 276,


Dalston Kingsland, Hackney Downs


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.

Reception can ring for cabs for patients.

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. ERS Medical are the provider of non-emergency patient transport services for Homerton NHS Trust. If eligable this can be arranged in advance with the services administration department. 

Time / Date Details

Time of day
  • Morning
  • Afternoon
Session Information
Monday to Friday 8.30am - 5.30pm

Other details

Referral required?


Referral Details

Referral forms are available for each service within Hackney Ark on request via the services email.  

Professionals can also make a referral to Hackney Ark by completing a MARs (Multi-agency referral) referral form or a letter of referral. Referrals are discussed in a multi-agency forum which meets weekly.

What to do if you have a complaint

If you have a concern about the service you have received please speak to your therapist or the person who has been working wiht 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 admin.

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.


Homerton University Hospital NHS Foundation Trust

Homerton Row

London E9 6SR

e-mail huh-tr.pals.service@nhs.net

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

Textphone 07584 445 400

Web https://www.homerton.nhs.uk/patient-advice-liaison-service-pals

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