A government disability payment assessor has been suspended after mistakenly believing that the term ‘autistic spectrum’ refers to a type of 1980’s computer. 

24-year-old Patrick McGowan from Southend attended his PIP (Personal Independance Payment) assessment earlier this week, and he admitted to Southend News Network that he had been left feeling ‘shocked’ at the comments by the female assessor. 

He said: ‘I sat down with her, and I was asked to list any conditions that may prevent me from being able to look for work. Once I had been through everything, I also mentioned that I was on the autistic spectrum, and she looked at me with a puzzled expression.’

‘After a few seconds, she replied ‘Ah yes I used to have one of those. Some of the tapes took forever to load didn’t they.’

‘At first I thought that she was making some kind of joke, but then she reminded me that I only needed to give details that would be relevant to my assessment – she made it perfectly clear that we didn’t have time to discuss retro gaming machines.’

Southend News Network spoke to a representative of the South Essex PIP Assessment Unit, and they confirmed that an investigation is underway. 

In a further shocking development, another Southend resident contacted our Newsdesk anonymously to say that her PIP assessor had also made a similar mistake.

The 43-year-old said: ‘I mentioned that I needed a Zimmer to get around when I am at home, and he just laughed and said ‘I understand where you are coming from. The soundtracks from Gladiator and Pirates Of The Carribbean are hugely inspirational.’