The Supports Intensity Scale (SIS)

The Supports Intensity Scale was developed by a team of experts from the American Association on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (AAIDD), formerly the American Association on Mental Retardation (AAMR).  The SIS measures support needs in the areas of home living, community living, lifelong learning, employment, health and safety, social activities, protection and advocacy, Exceptional Medical, and Exceptional Behavioral needs.   The Scale ranks each activity in three distinct areas:  type of support, frequency of support, and amount of support time. The tool measures the level of support needed for a person with a developmental disability to engage in an activity on their own, like any other individual of relative age without a developmental disability. 

SIS Document Downloads

The AAIDD notes the following benefits of the Supports Intensity Scale:

  • Direct, reliable, and valid measurement of supports needs in 57 life activities.
  • Ranking of support needs in 15 medical and 13 behavioral areas.
  • Comparing a person's needs to others based on national field test data.
  • Solid knowledge on person's needs, preferences, and goals for life.
  • Directions on resource allocation and financial planning.
  • Help to talk about support needs during the person-centered planning process.
  • Opportunity to help the person plan a life of their choice.
  • Long-term independence and enhanced quality of life for persons with intellectual disabilities.
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