Supports Intensity Scale®

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Product Information

What is SIS-A™

The Supports Intensity Scale -- Adult Version is an assessment tool that evaluates practical support requirements of a person with an intellectual disability. SIS-A consists of 12-page Interview and profile that tests support needs in 87 areas, and a 127-page User's Manual. SIS is comprehensive and engages the individual in a positive interview process. 

What SIS-A measures

The SIS-A measures support requirements in 57 life activities and 28 behavioral and medical areas. The assessment is done through an interview with the individual, and those who know the person well.

SIS-A measures support needs in the areas of home living, community living, lifelong learning, employment, health and safety, social activities, and protection and advocacy. The Scale ranks each activity according to frequency (refers to how often support is needed, e.g. 0/none to 4/hourly or more frequently), amount (refers to how much time in one day another person is needed to provide support, e.g. 0/none to 4 hours or more), and type of support (refers to what kind of support should be provided, e.g. 0/none to 4/full assistance). Additionally, the behavioral and medical section of the SIS-A rates exceptional medical and behavioral support needs. Ratings range from 1, or no support, to 2, or extensive support needed. Finally, 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. 

Why SIS-A and SIS-C are different

Traditionally, a person's level of developmental disability has been measured by the skills the individual lacks. SIS-A shifts the focus from lacks to needs. The Scale evaluates practical supports people with developmental disabilities need to lead independent lives.


The SIS-A should be administered by a professional in the human services field with a 4-year degree. Under exceptional circumstances others with experience conducting individual assessments and possess extensive knowledge of behavior rating or psychological testing principles may be acceptable. However, it is highly recommended that interviewers who intend to administer the SIS-A with multiple people make efforts to attend a professional development/training workshop on how to score and administer the SIS-A. AAIDD regularly offers professional development/training opportunities to interested organizations and individuals. The most qualified interviewers are those who have completed training. This ensures they are implementing the assessment with fidelity.

Click here to read frequently asked questions on the administration of SIS-A.


A paper and pencil-based test consisting of an 12-page Interview and profile form. Comes with accompanying 127-page User's Manual.


SISOnline is an advanced web application system that enables you to score the Supports Intensity Scale online through a standard web browser. The system allows access to a variety of reports and statistics, and maintains a database of historical information and more. To learn more, click here.

To inquire about SIS electronic options, email

Other SIS Tools

AAIDD is the publisher, copyright holder, and sole owner of the SIS, SIS-A. SIS-C, and Person-Centered Planning With the Supports Intensity Scale-Adult Version™: A Guide for Planning Teams (2017). The suite of SIS tools also includes all associated interview scoring forms, user’s guides, training manuals and materials, and associated electronic software platforms, most notably SISOnline and SISVenture. The SIS-A is a standardized assessment tool designed to measure the pattern and intensity of supports that a person aged 16 years and older with intellectual disability requires to be successful in community settings. First launched in 2004, the assessment tool was developed by AAIDD over a five-year period from 1998 to 2003 and normed with over 1,300 culturally diverse people with intellectual and developmental disabilities aged 16–72 in 33 states and two Canadian provinces. The psychometric properties of the tool are strong: research published in peer-reviewed journals around the world continuously demonstrates the reliability and validity of the SIS-A.

Since 2004, AAIDD has demonstrated considerable experience supporting the implementation of SIS suite of tools domestically and internationally through (a) conducting stakeholder information sessions, (b) training potential assessors, (c) training potential trainers using “train the trainer” model, (d) performing quality assurance monitoring and refresher training, (e) performing assessment services, (f) granting SISOnline and SISVenture licenses, (g) maintaining and upgrading the electronic software platforms, (h) providing customization and configuration services, and (i) providing ongoing technical assistance on the use of the electronic software platforms.

Additional information.

SIS-A authors

James R. Thompson; Brian R. Bryant; Robert L. Schalock; Karrie A. Shogren; Marc J. Tassé; Michael Wehmeyer; Edward M. Campbell; Ellis M. (Pat) Craig; Carolyn Hughes; David A. Rotholz.