What are the common PIP assessment questions for autism?

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This blog will discuss common PIP assessments asked in the case of disability related to autism. 

We will also discuss what PIP is, the criteria of eligibility and what autism is. 

What are the common PIP assessment questions for autism?

Here are is a list of areas based on which PIP assessment questions as asked related to autism:

Identification

The individuals who are taking your assessment- face to face- will most probably be asked with identifying details and cross check them with the details and documents they have on hand. 

About your medical diagnosis

Next they will ask you about your medical diagnosis as in:

How long you have had it

Who diagnosed it and when

How it is managed

What the symptoms are

How it affects you personally 

Another area that is explored is the variations of symptoms in terms of how you experience it at least 50 percent of the days in a week or so. 

This is important because they might look into your case where you might experience extreme distress three days a week where as you can manage the other four days- they will assess on how you can manage on those four days.

In regard to this it is important that you clearly tell them how it affects you so that they can understand and assess you accurately. For example, if you struggle with your disability at any point in the day of those manageable four days, then it applies.

It is important that you explain this variation in terms of days so that they take notice of it, note it down, and this can be a case for support in case your application goes to the tribunal hearing. 

Medication

The next topic that is assessed will be your medication. Whether you are taking any form of medication and if not, why you cannot take the medication or why you have not been prescribed. For example, some medications are not prescribed due to allergies etc. 

So you have to explain what medications you take for the condition, what you do not take, and why. For example, side effects causing you to discontinue the medication.  

This part of the questions can also include individual therapy, if you are in any form of therapy, skills training etc for example, speech therapy or social skills training for autism disorder. Make sure you mention these to them.

Activities

Questions related to activities will also be included such as preparing food, planning your day, doing errands, taking medication etc. 

These questions are not easy and not simple, so pay attention to them and answer as best as you can as to how your condition affects you daily activities and how difficult it makes it to do these things. 

Explain clearly and accurately how the condition affects these activities as well as what you can do. At times, if your assessor does not seem to understand your experiences, make sure that you put your distress due to your condition clearly- how it affects your quality of life. 

You can look at the test online and decide for yourself what wording applies to you, what areas you can explain to score you points etc. 

Take charge if you must if the assessor is not exploring questions related to activities, make sure that you explain your side of the story such as needing assistance, inability to work etc. 

Make sure that you explain how your condition can put your life at risk as well as how it can cause you to have a hard time at work due to socialising and communication difficulties etc. 

Another question area that is explored is that of toilet management. In the case that an individual is unable to manage toilet use by themselves, it needs to be explored, clearly, and with great detail.

Usually, if you are representing an individual with autism it is important to mention what counts as aid when using the toilet such as a railing, a board, or another individual. It is possible that the assessor might not explore minute details and it becomes important that the climate or the representative takes charge and explains everything down to every single detail when it comes to use of the toilet and assistance.

Mobility

Now, another area that will be explored with questions is mobility- in terms of your ability to get from point A to point B, and how you do so. 

At the same time, you might also be explored regarding your ability to use transport, get yourself from one point to another without assistance from other individuals such as being able to coordinate maps, public transport, go and come back without assistance etc.

It is important that you or the representative express how mobility is affected by symptoms of autism such as being overwhelmed with new senses or new places when moving around from one place to another etc.

Movements

Now, another area that is explored in PIP assessments is that of movements, usually in autism repetitive and stereotypical movements are symptoms that can disrupt daily living. 

This needs to be explored and the assessors should be able to understand, based on your description, how it can be limiting to the individual’s quality of life and their ability to work or socially interact. 

What is PIP?

PIP stands for Personal Independence Payment (PIP) which is a financial benefit that is paid to between the ages of 16-64 who need financial help because of a long-term illness, disability or mental health condition. 

PIP is a financial assistance and benefit that does not affect your income, capital or savings of the individual and you can also claim other benefits such as Employment and Support Allowance and Universal Credit even if one claims PIP.

An individual can apply for and be paid PIP even if when they are in and out of work and one’s payment to National Insurance does not affect PIP. However PIP might affect Constant Attendance Allowance or war pensioners’ mobility supplement.

You can claim PIP in case you have a condition that affects you day to day life and these conditions- mental or physical-limits you in any of the following ways:

  • Speaking to other people
  • Shopping and paying bills
  • Planning and following journeys
  • Preparing food and eating- diet and nutrition. 
  • Washing and bathing- hygiene.

PIP consists of two components, and people can qualify for both components or only one. These components are:

  • Daily living component
  • Mobility component

PIP claims upon approval are paid into your bank or post office account every four weeks after the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) assesses you as eligible for the claim and also determines what rate you are to be paid. 

Awards of PIP are for fixed periods of time like a certain number of months or years and once this period ends you can make another claim to receive these awards.

What are the PIP criteria for autism?

PIP assessments has criterias for two components (mobility and daily living) and these criterias that are assessed includes the following:

Daily living

Criteria related to daily living activities includes having difficulty in the following areas due to your autism diagnosis:

  • Needing prompting or supervision to cook and prepare food
  • Needing prompting or supervision to eat food
  • Needing help managing therapy or monitoring a health condition 
  • needing prompting or supervision to maintain hygiene. 
  • Needing assistance in managing toilet needs 
  • Needing assistance in dressing and undressing 
  • Needing communication support)
  • Needing prompting to read or understand written information and reading.
  • Unable to interact in an appropriate manner, understand body language and establish relationships
  • They need assistance when planning a budget or managing and paying bills

Mobility 

Criteria related to Mobility includes having difficulty in the following areas due to your autism diagnosis:

  • planning and following a journey. Needs assistance to make a journey and take care of all details related to making this journey like scheduling, planning, billing etc. 
  • Struggle with limited physical ability to move around.

What is Autism?

Autism, or autism spectrum disorder (ASD), refers to a broad range of conditions that involve challenges with social skills, repetitive behaviours, speech and nonverbal communication. 

According to the Centre for Disease Control, autism affects an estimated 1 in 54 children in the United States and usually symptoms of the disorder appear at the age of 2-3 years old while some developmental delays are observed as easily as 18 months. 

Because autism is a spectrum disorder, there are not just one but many subtypes of the disorder which vary according to the variation in genetic and environmental factors.  It also has a distinct set of strengths and challenges for each person on the spectrum.

People with autism Spectrum disorder vary in the way they think, learn, and problem solves- some can be highly skilled as it is the case for people with asperger’s syndrome or severely challenged enough to be considered a disability and require intense support and care from other people while others do not. 

Several factors increase the risk of the development of autism such as genetics, environment, parental substance abuse, family history, maternal and paternal behavioural risk factors like smoking or drinking when pregnant or trying to become pregnant.

The disorder is often accompanied by sensory sensitivities and medical issues such as gastrointestinal (GI) disorders, seizures or sleep disorders, and  mental health challenges such as anxiety, depression and attention issues.Research shows that early intervention leads to positive outcomes later in life for people with autism.

What is the Diagnostic criteria of Autism?

Diagnostic Criteria for Autism Spectrum Disorder is as follows:

To meet diagnostic criteria for ASD an individual must have persistent deficits in each of three areas of social communication and interaction and at least two of four types of restricted, repetitive behaviours in different contexts.

  • Deficits in social-emotional reciprocity, failure of normal back-and-forth conversation; to reduced sharing of interests and emotions; to failure to engage in social interactions.
  • Deficits in nonverbal communicative behaviours used for social interaction, from poor verbal and nonverbal communication; deficits in understanding and use of gestures; lack of facial expressions and nonverbal communication.
  • Deficits in developing, maintaining, and understanding relationships, from difficulties adjusting behaviour to suit various social contexts; to difficulties in sharing imaginative play or in making friends; to absence of interest in peers.
  • Stereotyped or repetitive motor movements, use of objects, or speech 
  • Insistence on sameness, inflexible adherence to routines, or ritualised patterns of verbal or nonverbal behaviour (e.g., extreme distress at small changes)
  • Highly restricted, fixated interests that are abnormal in intensity or focus
  • Hyper- or hypo reactivity to sensory input or unusual interest in sensory aspects of the environment 
  • Symptoms cause clinically significant impairment in social, occupational, or other important areas of current functioning.

These disturbances are not better explained by intellectual disability (intellectual developmental disorder) or developmental delay.

Conclusion

This blog discussed common PIP assessments asked in the case of disability related to autism. 

We also discussed what PIP is, the criteria of eligibility and what autism is. 

How do you answer PIP questions for autism?

To answer PIP questions effectively you must understand the criterias to explain your experiences in such a way that you can score effectively and the assessor can understand you. 

Use as many examples as you can and be honest about your challenges, there is no need to be ashamed or embarrassed to talk about your struggles. 

Can someone with autism get PIP?

Yes. An individual with autism is protected by disability laws which entitles them to benefits like PIP. 

What is a child with autism entitled to?

A a family with a child with autism or a child with autism can be awarded benefits that include:

  • Income Support
  • Income-based Employment and Support Allowance
  • Child Tax Credit
  • Housing Benefit.

References

American Psychiatric Association. Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders. 5th ed. Arlington, VA: American Psychiatric Association; 2013.

Questions asked at PIP Assessment. Disability Claims. Retrieved on 7th February 2022. https://disabilityclaims.uk/questions-asked-at-pip-assessment/

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