Revise the SIS-A and update its norms for adults with IDD and Investigate the applicability of the SIS-A for other populations

The Dole building on a sunny summer day with blue sky and clouds.

The importance of understanding people with intellectual disability by their support needs has been highlighted in the American Association on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities’ Terminology, Definition, and Classification Manuals since the early 1990s. The first standardized assessment tool to measure the intensity of people’s support needs, the Supports Intensity Scale or SIS, was published in 2004. It was refreshed and rebranded as the SIS-A in 2015. The SIS-A has been used throughout North America and the world as jurisdictional service systems strive to (a) align their work with a social-ecological conceptualization of disability (i.e., how the person interacts with their environment) in contrast to a traditional deficit orientation, (b) embrace a more consumer-driven service system, and (c) address the reality of finite public funding and increasing demands for services.

An important goal for AAIDD in the revision of the SIS-A was to assure its ongoing relevance to current users and enhance its appeal to potential users. The purpose of this project is to revise the SIS-A assessment and the corresponding User’s Manual by adding an expanded demographic section, additional medical items, more explicit administration and scoring instructions, expanded definitions of items, updated examples of its application for planning at the individual, organizational, and systems levels, and the findings from new data analyses that provide evidence of its psychometric properties. Data will be collected, analyzed, and a new SIS-A Users Manual with updated items and  norm-referenced scores will result. 

Project details

  • Primary Investigator: James Thompson

  • Project start Date: 09/01/2018

  • Project finish Date: 08/31/2022



  • American Association on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities