Supports Intensity Scale (SIS) Assessment

What to expect of your assessment

This assessment evaluates practical support requirements for adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD).

Preparing for your Supports Intensity Scale Assessment

The Supports Intensity Scale® (SIS) is an assessment tool developed by the American Association on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (AAIDD) that evaluates practical support requirements for adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD). It is administered in the form of an 8-page interview between the individual with IDD; any family, staff, supports coordinators, therapists, and others who have an intimate knowledge of the individual’s abilities in daily life; and a highly-trained human services professional. Many states use the results of the SIS to determine necessary supports and services for the individual.

  • Who will participate?

    Participants, also referred to as respondents, must include at least two people who have known an individual with intellectual or developmental for at least 3 months. Respondents can be the individual, family members, friends, direct support or other staff from residential or day service providers. The individual may choose to be an active participant in the interview.

    The respondent must be able to describe, in a very detailed way, the day-to-day supports the individual needs to successfully accomplish each task. For this reason, the respondent must have known the individual very well from direct experience and for at least 3 months. The SIS meeting will be scheduled as a single meeting with all respondents in attendance.

  • Should the individual participate in the interview?

    Individuals are absolutely invited to participate. However, it is not required. The decision about whether or not the individual participates in the SIS interview is entirely up to each individual and family, according to what works best.

  • What will happen on the day of the interview?

    The assessor will explain how the interview works. During the interview, the assessor will ask you questions like:

    “What type of support does Jane need to successfully get dressed each day?”

    “How frequently does Jane need this type of support?”

    “On a typical day when support of this type is needed, how much time should be devoted?”

    Your job is simply to answer these types of questions as well as you can. If an individual and a family member don’t quite agree on the answers to a question at first, the assessor may ask extra questions to be sure that we understand your viewpoints and help with the process of coming to agreement. The interview can be expected to take 3 to 4 hours to complete.

  • Where will interview take place?

    The assessment meeting should take place wherever the individual and other respondents choose. It should be a place where all respondents agree to meet. This can include (but is not limited to) the individual’s home, his or her day service provider, or the home of a family member or friend. If the individual has chosen not to participate in the assessment meeting, the respondents may choose the meeting location. It would be best if the interview could take place in a room that is quiet, private, comfortable and appropriate to meet the individual’s needs.

  • What topics does the SIS cover?

    The SIS assessor will ask questions about the following topics:

    • Home living
    • Community living
    • Lifelong learning
    • Employment
    • Health and safety
    • Social activities
    • Protection and advocacy
    • Exceptional medical and behavioral support needs
  • Learn more about SIS

    The American Association on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (AAIDD) is the developer, copyright holder and sole owner of the Supports Intensity Scale® (SIS).  Ascend, a Maximus company, first partnered with AAIDD and states in 2007 to develop SIS programs.  Visit AAIDD's website to learn more.

Helpful Information for SIS Respondents

This pdf provides respondents an overview of the SIS assessment.

Download pdf

Scheduling the SIS Assessment

This pdf provides an overview of the steps involved in a typical SIS assessment.

Download pdf

Developed by AAIDD

he American Association on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (AAIDD) is the developer, copyright holder and sole owner of the Supports Intensity Scale®. Ascend, a Maximus company, first partnered with AAIDD and states in 2007 to develop SIS programs.

Learn more at AAIDD's website