Reading and understanding signs, symbols and words

This activity is about understanding written or printed information, including signs and symbols, in your native language (which may not be English).

Activity scores

A - Can read and understand basic and complex written information either unaided or using spectacles or contact lenses 0 B - Needs to use an aid or appliance, other than spectacles or contact lenses, to be able to read or understand either basic or complex information 2 C - Needs prompting to be able to read or understand complex written information 2 D - Needs prompting to be able to read or understand basic written information 4 E - Cannot read or understand signs, symbols or words at all 8


  • ‘Basic information’ includes signs, symbols and dates. ‘Complex information’ means more than one sentence of standard sized text, for example information on a gas or phone bill.
  • ‘Needs assistance’ might include needing someone to read or explain information to you.
  • 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 signs or symbols, or after a seizure, they might be very tired and confused which could affect their ability to read or understand signs, symbols and words. If your vision is affected during your seizures, you can also include this here.
  • If your epilepsy or seizures affect your ability to do this activity 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 when you need to read and understand signs, symbols and words to keep safe? Include any real examples of when this has happened, and how it affected you physically and mentally. For example, if someone has a focal impaired awareness seizure they might not be able to read or understand road signs, which could be dangerous.

Does anything else about your epilepsy (including your seizures, recovery from seizures, medication side effects, or impact of your condition) affect your ability to do this activity? 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