Young people with a learning disability may have difficulties in understanding situations, in expressing themselves, or have fewer opportunities to learn about becoming older and more independent. They can have the same mental health problems as other young people who do not have learning disabilities, but these might look different, be more difficult to detect, and need interventions and treatments that are adjusted to suit individual needs.
Children and young people with learning disabilities, and their families and carers, can expect CAMHS to make reasonable adjustments to enable them to be helped by CAMHS. This might be having an appointment at home rather than in a clinic, having a longer appointment time, using playing and drawing instead of talking, working with parents and carers and others instead of directly with the child, joining with the family, school, health services provided through the school, social work services, etc. in reviews or discussions to think together about the difficulties and how best to help.
The learning disability clinicians in CAMHS are experienced in working with children and young people and with people with learning disabilities and can help with ideas and suggestions about how to understand and tackle problems. This might be working directly with families and other agencies, or supporting their CAMHS colleagues to work with children and young people affected by learning disability.
Some learning disabilities clinicians are based in the local CAMHS teams and others in the ‘Tier 4 HUB’. They are a multi-disciplinary team with skills in learning disability child and adolescent mental health and challenging behaviour (Consultant Child and Adolescent & Learning Disability Psychiatry; Registered Learning Disability Nursing; Clinical Psychology; Speech and Language Therapy; Occupational Therapy; Clinical Support Worker).