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TOPIC: Specialist Orientation Aids?Hi Gordon

Specialist Orientation Aids? 2 months 1 week ago #227778

My son receives PIP. He has Aspergers' Syndrome, severe depression and severe anxiety. He was receiving enhanced rate for daily living and for planning and following a journey. After his review, he lost 4 points for communication and lost 8 points on planning and following a journey.

Although the loss of the 4 points for communication made no difference, he was still awarded enhanced rate, I felt this was wrong as, anyone who knows anything about Aspergers, communication is one of my son's major difficulties. He lost the 8 mobility points which I asked for a mandatory reconsideration about. They said they "acknowledged the difficulties yu have with planning & following a journey" because of "overwhelming distress". My son uses the journey tracker on his mobile phone as he cannot even make a familiar journey without following the tracker to know which stop he has to get off the bus without it. He has stayed on the bus and gone 25 miles further on the journey before now because he forgot his phone. My argument is that without this journey tracker which is on his mobile phone, he could not manage a journey. But they seem to be saying that this is not counted as an orientation aid because "Orientation aids are specialist aids". What on earth does that mean! The days of map and compass are well and truly over, and my son would not be able to follow that if it was required!

I cannot seem to find any answer about what actually counts as a specialist orientation aid. My son is not blind btw, he studies at university (though he receives daily living support worker in order to do this), the anxiety is of course a big issue but it seems to me that his difficulties due to Aspergers' Syndrome have simply been discounted with regard to communication and planning and following a journey. Your advice would be very much appreciated as there is only a couple of weeks left to decide whether or not to put in an appeal. Also, my son does not have to have a face-to-face consultation because of his difficulties, would he need to actually attend any appeal?


Melrose

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Specialist Orientation Aids? 2 months 1 week ago #227798

Melrose

I'm afraid car and personal navigation systems are not counted as aids for the purposes of the Going Out activity, this has been confirmed at the Upper Tier Tribunal.

What Descriptor has he actually scored for?

Gordon

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

Specialist Orientation Aids?Hi Gordon 2 months 6 days ago #227917

Hi Gordon,
He was given 4 points(Planning & following a journey) for "You need prompting from another person to undertake a journey to avoid causing you significant mental distress".

They gave him this for 'severe anxiety'. But my son also has Aspergers Syndrome and relies on the Journey Planner/Tracker app that he installed on his mobile phone to help him get around. For instance, he gets the bus at the bus station, he always gets the same bus, but he needs to follow the journey tracker which tracks each stop on the route, it tells him when he needs to get off the bus at the next stop. When he has not had his phone for using that app he has stayed on the bus until the next terminus (25 miles extra). My argument is that he could not make this journey without using this app. Without it the journey (even familiar ones) are not possible. How that they say that an orientation aid (an app on his mobile) does not count even though it is essential in order for him to get around? No phone, no app, no app no making the journey, its that simple. I feel like they are deliberately putting obstacles in the way of his future.

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Specialist Orientation Aids?Hi Gordon 2 months 6 days ago #227927

melrose

It sounds as if the assessor thought he had more of a problem with undertaking a journey than following a route. How is he affected on the majority of days? does he have more problem with leaving the house or having done so getting somewhere?

The Going Out activity considers three primary causes of problems;

- Sensory issues, the claimant is blind
- cognitive issues, they have a learning difficulty or brain injury
- they have mental health issues that would cause overwhelming psychological distress when out and prevent them from continuing to follow a route

Can you fit your son's issues into one of these categories? You mention anxiety when out, this will not be sufficient to meet the criteria.

Gordon

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

Specialist Orientation Aids?Hi Gordon 2 months 5 days ago #227970

Hi Gordon,
He has to be prompted and often escorted when he goes out. He was attacked in April 2018 and was stabbed twice. He has had to have three operations since to repair the damage done. My son already struggled because of his difficulties, this has made it so much worse.

He cannot, at all, follow a route if he does not use his journey planner/tracker. Even journeys that he makes every week are impossible without that aid on his phone. He does not go to the shops etc, he is at university and his support worker walks him to university and walks him home again. My son not only loses the extra finances for this mobility element of PIP but perhaps more importantly, he loses his bus/ferry/train cards as well. As a student he cannot afford to travel home every week without the concession cards, this will seriously have a detrimental effect on his mental health. Ive spoken to his Social Worker about this and she thinks it may be the end of my son trying to complete his university course. Everything has been done to try and help him manage university with the hope that in the future he will be able to hold down a career. I find it incredible that the orientation aid that he so clearly needs (no chooses) to use is discounted.

BTW, I contacted the DWP, and the Autistic Society and the Social Work department and even my local MP. None of these could tell me what counted as a 'specialist orientation aid' for people with an autistic spectrum disorder. It seems to me to be the answer is that there is nothing that qualifies.

Melrose

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Specialist Orientation Aids?Hi Gordon 2 months 5 days ago #227980

melrose

It strikes me that you may be approaching this from the wrong direction, the satellite navigation is not going to help him score points, so you should be explaining why he has problems with following a route in the first place but you do need to decide what he has problems with on the majority of days; going out or following a route? You can't argue both as they are considered to be mutually exclusive.

The only orientation aid I am aware of is a blind person's white stick

Gordon

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