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Supports Intensity Scale trainers in their own words!

The AAIDD SIS training program, launched in 2005, now encompasses a portfolio of offerings including one-day orientation and guided practices; training SIS interviewers; Train-the-Trainer programs; interviewer reliability review; and data integrity assurance on SIS interviews. Here we present two senior SIS trainers who have traveled across the United States and Canada to train disability professionals to become reliable SIS interviewers, and realize the full potential of the Supports Intensity Scale for people with intellectual disabilities.”  
 
Natalie Ihli
What do you like best about being a SIS trainer?
”What I like best about being a trainer for the Supports Intensity Scale is the opportunity to learn the perspectives of professionals working with people with disabilities across the country.  It's great to be able to teach people the unique point of view SIS provides—a positive and comprehensive approach to assisting individuals. No longer do support teams have to focus on what a person can or can't do. The question becomes: What support does the person need to do a task? The SIS assists individuals and their teams in thinking more about to be of assistance to a person to help him or her succeed.
”I think when people first see the Supports Intensity Scale, they think it looks fairly easy to use.  The training helps reveal the standard to which the SIS is completed.  Thinking about every person being assessed at a level of success expected of all of us can truly shift their thinking about people with disabilities.  Once we have tackled that in training, we work on consistency in rating items.  It's so important at a state level especially, to ascertain that all interviewers are assessing reliably.”

About Natalie
Natalie Ihli is a licensed social worker and also Program Coordinator with the School-to-Work Alliance Program Academy School District 20 in Colorado Springs, CO, where she coordinates post-secondary vocational and academic opportunities for youth with disabilities. Natalie brings considerable experience in program management, community relations, and case management, and was Community Coordinator and Director for Special Projects at The Resource Exchange in Colorado before her current positions.
Being a SIS trainer and a program coordinator does not leave Natalie with much free time. However, she says, “I have managed to get in a few skiing/snow boarding days this season.  I'm also a reader and huge movie fan!”  
 
Karen Hoffman
What do you like best about being a SIS trainer?
”What I like best about being a SIS trainer is meeting different people and sharing how SIS can and is being used across the country and Canada. The value that SIS brings to the field is really in the attention it brings to what we as a state, agency, or care provider needs to provide, rather than what the person with disabilities can or cannot do.” 
”SIS training and its reliability testing help ensure that SIS interviews are conducted correctly.  Over time, we have noticed “procedural drift” begin to occur where shortcuts or misinterpretations begin to incorrectly influence the process.  It is not unlike the old telephone game, where you start out with a story and by the time you pass it between people, the end story does not resemble the original at all.  The continued reliability testing help keep the data true.”
About Karen
Karen is Vice President for Adult Services and Director of Research and Development at the Northwest Center in Seattle, Washington, where she oversees all vocational programs for adults with developmental disability in the greater Puget Sound and Spokane. Karen’s hobbies include photography, stained glass, and beer making.
 
Questions for SIS trainers? Email books@aaidd.org
 
To learn more about SIS training, click here.