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Supports Intensity Scale Assessments

What are they and why are they required?

The Supports Intensity Scale (SIS®) was published by the American Association of Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (AAIDD) in 2004. It is designed to measure a person’s support needs. While most other assessments identify tasks that a person can and can’t do, the SIS measures the type and intensity of assistance that an individual needs to successfully complete tasks of everyday life like other same-aged adults in the community. The SIS measures activities across all areas of adult life, including: home living, community living, lifelong learning, employment, health and safety, social activities, and protection and advocacy. Activities are rated according to frequency, amount, and type of support in accordance with AAIDD rating key guidelines. The SIS was designed to:

  • Assess support needs of individuals ages 16 to 72.
  • Determine the type and intensity of support needed.
  • Monitor individual progress and evaluate outcomes over time.
  • Focus on the individual’s supports needs rather than on skill deficits.
  • Provide validated knowledge about the individual to develop individualized, person-centered plans.
  • Fill an important niche not covered by other measurement scales.

This SIS assessment provides valuable information to all stakeholders. It is useful for individuals because it gathers good information about each person’s unique support needs which can be very helpful in developing individualized, person-centered support plans. Assessment information can also be helpful to providers, counties, and the state for planning purposes, because the data gathered can help identify underserved groups or needs in particular areas as well as where resources should be focused.