Learning Disabilities

How your child be referred to this service

If you are worried that your child is struggling in school and is not keeping up with friends in everyday activities outside the classroom, talking to your child’s teacher or special educational needs co-ordinator (SENCO) is often the best first step.
Most children we see in the CAMHS-Learning Disabilities Care Pathway have been referred by their school, paediatrician, GP, or speech and language therapist.
All referrals for the CAMHS-Learning Disabilities Care Pathway are made to Islington Community CAMHS.
You are invited to a CAMHS Choice appointment first.  Your Choice clinician will help you and your child decide if we are the best service for your child’s needs, and make sure we have your agreement to liaise and work with the key professionals, including your child’s school and the GP.

What is a Global Learning Disability

Global Learning Disability (GLD) is another name for Intellectual Disability.  To diagnose this in a child or young person under the age of 18, there must be strong evidence of two things:
  1. Significant difficulties in general thinking and reasoning skills (cognitive abilities) that affect learning in the classroom and from experience
  2. Significant difficulties in the expected adaptive skills for daily living and self-help when compared to most other people of the same age, gender and cultural background

Our supports-based approach to assessment

Our purpose is to work with you and your child to find out whether there is strong evidence for a Global Learning Disability.  If your child has a GLD, we will make sure you know what this means and the best next step to support you and your child.
When assessing your child, we aim to:
  • Always consider your child’s community and cultural background
  • Always look for strengths as well as limitations
  • Always try to develop a profile of supports for any limitations we find
  • Always remember that life functioning of most people with Global Learning Disabilities will improve where appropriate personalized supports are sustained over time
  • Never forget that we are working with your child, who is always special and unique.

What happens when you agree to this assessment

Every family is allocated two named clinicians for the assessment: a clinical psychologist and an assistant psychologist.  We also have a specialist doctor in our team, who advises us on our assessments and will arrange to see children if necessary.
Once we decide to work together, you will be sent an assessment timetable.  Your set appointments will take place at the Northern Health Centre over 6 – 8 weeks, and we ask you to allow 90 minutes for each appointment.  We understand that this is a big commitment, but it is essential that you attend all the appointments as shown on the assessment timetable because all the assessment activities have to be completed with your clinicians within a short timescale.  The reason for this is that we have to work out scientifically how your child is progressing according to their exact age.
In the parent-only meetings, we will discuss your concerns and hopes, and fill out questionnaires about health, development, parenting and family life.  Please don’t bring your child to a parents-only meeting.  Please do bring along any medical, health or education reports you have about your child.
When we see your child for one-to-one assessment, we will be doing all sorts of activities like constructing puzzles, spot-the-odd-one-out tasks, and general knowledge questions, adjusted to suit their age group.
We will also visit your child’s school.  We spend some time in your child’s classroom and also meet their teacher to find out how they are learning.
At the end of the assessment, we will meet you again to explain what we have discovered and share our ideas and advice for the best next step.  For example, we may ask the school to follow-up an Education, Health and Care Plan for your child to ensure their learning is supported; or offer to link you with a family support service for help with managing behaviour at home; or perhaps we identify that Speech & Language Therapy would be helpful as part of your child’s personalized support plan.  If you would like support for yourself to adjust to your child’s diagnosis, we can help you find a service that suits you.
All families who complete an assessment with CAMHS-LD receive a copy of our technical report, which we also always send to your family doctor (GP) and to the school if there are learning difficulties to be supported there.  If your family currently has a social worker, we would also include them.  They would be able to advise you on any entitlements or benefits due to your child.
Working on it!