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020 8510 5555

Welcome to the CAMHS Disability Service webpages where you can learn more about the service and location

Hackney Ark Logo 350 X 130 Flattened

Our service
This is a specialist service for children with moderate to profound disabilities and mental health problems. Much of our work is with children with learning disabilities. The service includes a large team of clinical psychologists, consultant child and adolescent psychiatrist, play specialist, systemic family therapist, child psychotherapist, and administrator.
We support children, young people and families through assessment and treatment.
The clinical psychologists work using health, paediatric, developmental as well as mental health psychology models.
Referrals may ask to understand why a young person is:

  • behaving in a particular way
  • having difficulties learning
  • finding it hard to play and join in with other children
  • having difficulties with communication and interaction
  • skills learning e.g. sleep, toilet training, feeding difficulties in the context of disability
  • need time to understand why their child’s development is not the same as other children/siblings
  • think about diagnosis and the impact of this on the whole family

Part of the work of the clinical psychology team is to see families at neuro-developmental clinic appointments with a consultant community paediatrician.  Together we think about the child’s needs e.g. skills, behaviour, emotions and development and family needs as a whole.  Also joint specialist assessment of specific disorders e.g. ASD in the complex communication clinic.

Group Work
Group work offers a chance to meet other people in a similar situation and is an opportunity to learn specific skills that can be helpful.

  • parenting groups
  • siblings groups
  • complex communication/ASD assessment for under 5’s
  • next steps intervention groups (MDT) for under 5’s
  • teen troubles (ASD)
  • ASD parent’s support group

Mental health
Some children/young people experience disabilities affecting their development as well as mental health/emotional problems. The Child and Adolescent Mental Health service can assess and treat both aspects of difficulty as well as:

  • Diagnosis e.g. ASD, ADHD
  • Psycho-pharmacological intervention (medication)
  • Therapeutic/behavioural support and interventions
  • Emotional response to diagnosis

Play specialist and toy library
The play specialist takes referrals for short-term individual work to develop a child’s skills through play, and to develop their range of interests. They run the toy library, which is a free service to users of the Ark. 

Contact details

CAMHS Disability Service
Hackney Ark, Downs Park Road
London E8 2FP
tel: 020 7014 7071
fax: 020 7014 7239
We are open 9am - 5pm, Monday-Friday

How to refer to us
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.


To visit the CAMHS website click here

More information

For more detailed information please visit the
City & Hackney Child Adolescent Mental Health Services