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Supports Intensity Scale

Identifying Supports for Success

New Hampshire’s Developmental Services system uses an assessment tool for young adults and adults who have intellectual disabilities and acquired brain disorders. This tool is called the Supports Intensity Scale (SIS). Traditionally, a person’s 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 everyday activities.

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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:


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.


Benefits of the Supports Intensity Scale

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 budget.


Tips for a successful SIS interview:

Before the interview:

During the interview:


Where can I find additional information about the SIS?