Supports Intensity Scale

The Supports Intensity Scale (SIS) is an assessment tool that evaluates practical support requirements of a person with a developmental disability. DBHDD providers use SIS to help define needs and goals in the Individual Support Plans.

According to the American Association on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (AAIDD), SIS measures the individual’s support needs in personal, work-related, and social activities in order to identify and describe the types and intensity of the supports an individual requires. SIS was designed to be part of person-centered planning processes that help all individuals identify their unique preferences, skills, and life goals. The assessment is done via interviews with the individual and those who know him/her well.

SIS measures support needs in the areas of home living, community living, lifelong learning, employment, health and safety, social activities, and protection and advocacy. A Supports Intensity Level is determined based on the Total Support Needs Index, which is a standard score generated from scores on all the items tested by the scale. Traditionally, a person’s level of developmental disability has been measured by the skills the individual lacks. SIS shifts the focus from lacks to needs. The scale evaluates practical supports people with developmental disabilities need to lead independent lives (AAIDD).