Communicating verbally

This activity is about speaking and being understood, and about listening and understanding. It means speaking and listening in your native language, which may not be English. It includes sign language and text relay, but not Braille.

Activity scores

A - Can express and understand verbal information unaided 0 B - Needs to use an aid or appliance to be able to speak or hear 2 C - Needs communication support to be able to express or understand complex verbal information 4 D - Needs communication support to be able to express or understand basic verbal information 8 E - Cannot express or understand verbal information even with communication support 12


  • 'Aid or appliance' might include hearing aids, picture symbols, assistive computer technology or voice aids.
  • Communication support might be a person trained in communicating with people with specific needs, or it might be someone experienced in communicating with you (and so could be a family member or carer).
  • This activity will not be a problem for many people with epilepsy most of the time. But it could be affected during or after a seizure. For example, during a focal impaired awareness seizure (previously called complex focal seizure), someone may be unable to understand what people are saying to them, which could mean a higher risk of accident or injury to them or to others. Following a seizure, someone might be very tired and confused, which might affect their ability to communicate or understand what is being said to them. Memory issues could also cause a problem. For example, if you need to give information to an ambulance crew or doctor during or after a seizure and this is difficult, you can explain this.
  • If your epilepsy or seizures affect your ability to communicate in any way you can explain it here. Include what happens to you, how this affects you physically and mentally, what the risk is to you, what help you need and for how long, and how often this happens.

Things to think about

What could happen to you if you have a seizure while either talking or listening during a conversation? What is the likelihood of this happening? Include any real examples of when this has happened, and how it affected you physically and mentally. For example, some people are anxious about having seizures in public if their seizures cause them to act in an unusual way (such as during a focal impaired awareness seizure (previously called complex focal seizure) and if they might be confused when people talk to them during a seizure. Does anything else about your epilepsy (including your seizures, recovery from seizures, medication side effects, or impact of your condition) affect your ability to communicate? This could include:

  • your concentration or memory;
  • your mood (for example, anxiety or depression, or fear about having a seizure during this activity); or
  • any tiredness or confusion that you may have following a seizure.

Remember to include:

  • whether you can do this activity reliably (safely, to an acceptable standard, repeatedly and in a reasonable time period);
  • whether you need aids, appliances or help from another person to do this activity;
  • how often your condition affects your ability to do this activity (the 50% rule); and
  • the impact of any other conditions or disabilities that you have on this activity.

You will get just one single score for this activity, so make sure that you include as much relevant information as possible. You can continue on a separate sheet of paper if you need to. 

Information produced: July 2019

PIP the assessment criteria factsheet

Taken from our 'PIP - the assessment criteria' factsheet