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PIP - ADHD - Activity 8: Reading 3 months 2 weeks ago #249317

I would like advice on PIP’s Activity 8, Reading and Understanding symbols and words.

If the cognitive ability and inability to concentrate of a person with ADHD is such that they need to read written text, such as a letter, multiple times before they are able to comprehend what is written, so that it normally takes them at least three times, and up to ten times, longer to read text than a person without the disability, on account of words seemingly vaporising in front of them, would this mean that they should be awarded descriptor 8C, as they fail both the “Acceptable Standard” and “Within reasonable time limit” components of the Reliability test of this activity?

Following such a claim, the DWP wrote to me and claimed that a claimant’s “ability to remember and retain information is not considered” when assessing this activity and that it doesn’t matter that [it can take up to ten times longer] to read text, as they are “only interested in the ability to read and understand” and the correct descriptor is 8A.

Reading is not just reading words aloud. The ability to mentally process, comprehend and respond appropriately to the sentences is an inherent part of reading. Otherwise, one is not reading.

I believe that the DWP is incorrect not to take into account that a claimant needs to read slowly and read the same lines of text over and over, before it is possible to comprehend what has been written. Although the DWP’s Assessment Guide states that the ability to remember and retain information is not within the scope of this activity, the current PIP Regulations make no reference to this limitation, and I am not talking about remembering what has been written, at some point in the future. I am talking about the time immediately after reading text. If one does not know what one has just read, without reading it over and over, simply because their mental condition prevents them from reading like a normal person, then this must mean that the descriptor cannot be 8A.

Any dictionary will provide a definition of to read as a variation of “the complex cognitive process of decoding symbols to comprehend the meaning of something written, by looking at and interpreting the written characters”. Clearly if one does not comprehend what message is being conveyed by the text one has just looked at, then this is a failure to read. If one can comprehend the message by reading slowly and repeatedly, then one can read, just not within a reasonable time limit as defined by the PIP Regulations.

I would be most grateful for your opinion on this.

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PIP - ADHD - Activity 8: Reading 3 months 2 weeks ago #249322

Bertie

I think that there is a case to be made for points but your argument is muddled and draws in issues that are outside of the scope of the activity.

First of all, it is important to understand that the PIP Descriptors are inclusive, not exclusive, by this I mean that you must show that you meet the specifics of a particular Descriptor not meeting them for one does not imply that you do for another, so not meeting 8a does not mean that you as a consequence meet one of the others.

The legal test is "read or understand" (my emphasis) so it is not enough to just be able to see the words there must, to use your wording, also be some level of comprehension, however, I would say this is also your first problem, the test is not "comprehend", it is "understand" and whilst most people would use these words interchangeably there is far more strength in using the wording of the Descriptor wherever possible than others which may be interpreted differently.

Secondly, and I will stress I understand what it is that you are trying to show, you lapse into talking about remembering what it is that is being read, you say

"I am not talking about remembering what has been written, at some point in the future. I am talking about the time immediately after reading text."

You undermine your argument, as you have yourself pointed out the guidance for this activity says

"The ability to remember and retain information is not within the scope of this activity."

You need to find a way to explain the difficulty without referring to memory or the retention of the information.

As to using the reliability information, you need to provide an objective reference for the issues that you raise, as an example; what is average reading speed? What is the reasonable variance on this? Try and find a reputable site that you can quote from and refer to.

Lastly, and you may not appreciate this comment, if you are the claimant then this post argues against your having limitation in this area as will any similar argument that you might make to the DWP. You may have had help with this post or used technology to create it butt assessors and DMs are taught to look beyond the specifics of the activity, as an example; someone who claims significant restriction in their walking and yet admits to doing weekly supermarket shops will struggle to score.

Gordon
The following user(s) said Thank You: Bertie

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Nothing on this board constitutes legal advice - always consult a professional about specific problems

PIP - ADHD - Activity 8: Reading 1 month 1 week ago #251179

Gordon,

Thank you for replying so quickly. I am sorry that I have not done the same.

It is interesting that you say that just because one does not satisfy the Reliability test for a particular level of descriptor, that it does not automatically mean that one must therefore satisfy one of the other descriptors within the activity. If I interpret you correctly, you are saying that one has to positively satisfy a descriptor’s requirements in order to score it, and that it is not possible to keep working up an activity’s scale so, if it is not possible to even satisfy the highest scoring descriptor, score the highest descriptor by default. This clarification is fundamental and very helpful, thank you.

If this understanding is correct then, in this particular example, 8C would seem to be the correct descriptor. I think this is correct because the Reliability test fails on the “within a reasonable time period” category, due to it taking far more than double the amount of time to read ordinary text than an average person without the condition. If someone were there to prompt then this activity could be done reliably. It does not matter that there might not be someone else to prompt, only that if there were someone to prompt, then they would be able to facilitate the claimant so that they are able to read reliably. Is this logic sound in the context of PIP?

I accept that one would need to provide evidence of how the claimant reads by themselves compared to someone without the disability, in order to demonstrate that it takes them more than double the time to read.

I see what you are saying about remembering. Mentioning it potentially clouds the issue. Perhaps a better way to explain it would be to say that it takes more than double the time to read and process accordingly, the text?

I appreciate your comment about claiming difficulty with an activity while apparently being able to do the activity.

Thank you, Bertie.

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PIP - ADHD - Activity 8: Reading 1 month 6 days ago #251212

Bertie

There is nothing wrong with your argument but you will need to go into some detail if you are to score, give lots of examples and don't forget to show that you are limited for the majority of days.

Gordon

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