Important note: The government altered this rule March 2017. It is no longer possible to use these particular descriptors if the reason
the claimant has difficulty following a journey is psychological distress.
This descriptor is most likely to apply to claimants with cognitive, sensory or
developmental impairments who cannot, due to their impairment, work out where
to go, follow directions or deal with unexpected changes in their journey when it is
To ‘follow’ is the visual, cognitive and intellectual ability to reliably navigate a route.
The ability to walk itself is assessed in activity 12.
Cognitive impairment encompasses orientation (understanding of where, when and
who the person is), attention, concentration and memory.
[Re following unfamiliar routes] A person should only be considered able to follow an unfamiliar journey if they
would be capable of using public transport – the assessment of which should focus
on ability rather than choice.
Any accompanying person should be actively navigating for the descriptor to apply.
If the accompanying person is present for any other purpose then this descriptor
will not apply.
Small disruptions and unexpected changes, such as road works and changed bus-stops
are commonplace when following journeys and consideration should be
given to whether the claimant would be able to carry out the activity if such
commonplace disruptions were to occur. Consideration should also be given to
whether the claimant is likely to get lost. Clearly many people will get a little lost in
unfamiliar locations and that is expected, but most are able to recover and
eventually reach their target location. An individual who would get excessively lost,
or be unable to recover from getting lost would be unable to complete the activity
to an acceptable standard.
[Re following familiar journeys] For example, a person with learning difficulties is out shopping in town. On their
way home (a familiar journey), a road they would normally walk down has been
closed off due to a police incident. If the person wouldn’t be able to successfully
navigate an alternative route home then this descriptor would apply. If they can
follow a familiar route even with minor diversions, move to descriptor D.
Safety should be considered in respect of risks that relate to the ability to navigate,
for example, visual impairment and substantial risk from traffic when crossing a
road. If the risk identified is due to something else, such as behaviour, this
descriptor is unlikely to apply.
Last updated June 2017