Supports Intensity Scale (SIS)
Supports for Success
New Hampshireís Developmental Services system is starting to use an
assessment tool for young adults and adults who have intellectual
disabilities and acquired brain disorders. This tool is called the
Intensity Scale (SIS).
Traditionally, a personís level of intellectual disability has been measured
by the skills the individual lacks. SIS shifts the focus from what a person
lacks to the support a person needs to successfully participate in all
aspects of daily life. The SIS evaluates and measures the practical supports
that people with intellectual disabilities need to lead productive,
independent lives and to successfully engage in
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 formal rating scale is used:
Type of Support Needed (ranging from none to full
Frequency of Support Needed (ranging from none to hourly
or more frequently)
Daily Support Time (ranging from none to more than four
hours per day)
Exceptional Medical and Behavioral Needs are also evaluated. Support needs
in theses areas are rated in the following way:
The individual, family, guardian and others who support the individual are
all invited to participate in the SIS interview and assessment, making the
SIS process inclusive, personalized and person-centered.
SIS interviews have been specially trained and certified in administering
the SIS. The interview itself must be done face-to-face, may take up to 2-3
hours to complete and must include, in addition to the individual, at least
two people who know the person well in a variety of situations.
After the SIS interview is completed, the results are used to develop a
"Total Support Needs Index" which is a standard score generated from the
scores on all the items tested by the scale. An SIS report will be generated
and can help the individual, family members, guardians and others who
support the person to set goals and to identify the person's aspirations.
the Supports Intensity Scale
Direct, reliable, and valid measurement of support
requirements in 57
specific areas of life activities as well
as supports needed to prevent or manage 29 different
exceptional medical and behavioral challenges.
Solid knowledge of the personís needs, preferences and
goals for life.
Information about what supports are important to the individual as well
as those that are important for the individual.
A consistent method for allocating funding based on
individual support scores.
Question: Will the amount of funding an individual receives be
determined by the SIS interview?
Answer: The SIS will be used as an important part of determining the
funding for service planning. The results of the SIS will be added to other
important information about the individual to create the service plan and
Tips for a successful SIS interview:
Keep an open mind about things the individual may not be
doing now, but may do in the future.
Follow the rating scales carefully and ask questions of
the interviewer if there is anything you donít understand.
Donít underestimate support needs.
If you disagree with anything that is said, say so.
Where can I
find additional information about the SIS?
Additional information on the SIS can be obtained by
going to the web site:
Family members and guardians working with one of the ten
Area Agencies can speak with their case manager about the Support
Intensity Scale (SIS).
More information is also available by contacting: Dotty
information was prepared by NH Family Voices
If you have participated in one of the SIS
interviews and would like to complete a survey about your experience, we would
like to hear from you!
To complete the
survey online or contact your area agency for help with completing the