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Frequently Asked Questions




From seeking sample interview forms to questions on conducting a pilot SIS program, here’s what your peers are asking about the Supports Intensity Scale.
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The Instruments

Are SIS-A and SIS-C specifically for use with people with intellectual disability?
Yes. The SIS-A was normed on a population of over 1,200 people with IDD in the US and Canada. The SIS-C was normed on a population of over 4,000 children with IDD.

What are norms?
Norms are created with math. Norms compare one person’s score with the scores of a group of people who are like them. The SIS-A norms say if a person’s scores are higher, lower, or the same as other adults with IDD. The SIS-C norms say if a person’s scores are higher, lower, or the same as other children with IDD.

Can the SIS-A and SIS-C be used with other populations?
The SIS-A and SIS-C are designed to be used with those with IDD. Researchers have also found that the assessments can accurately measure the support needs of individuals with other types of disabilities.
How are the SIS-A and SIS-C different from adaptive behavior scales?
These tools measure different things. The SIS is designed to assess and describe the pattern and intensity of supports an individual needs to have in order to met the demands of their environment; this information may be used to inform the provision of individualized supports. In contrast, adaptive behavior scales are designed to assess the extent to which an individual independently performs age-appropriate skills for typical daily life. Adaptive behavior scales are used as part of a diagnostic evaluation for intellectual disability or to assess the strengths and weaknesses of an individual's adaptive functioning.

The Materials

Can I see a sample SIS-A interview form to prepare for the interview?
No. The assessment is not a test that one can study for. The outcome of the assessment is that the person's support needs are accurately and precisely identified. 

Is there an electronic version of SIS available?
Yes. The SISOline is an electronic database for entering and storing SIS-A interview data. The SISOnline is available to large enterprise organizations as well as individual practitioners and small offices. Individuals and small practices interested in SISOnline should send their queries to 

Is AAIDD the sole publisher of the SIS-A and SIS-C?
Yes, AAIDD is the sole publisher of the suite of SIS products.

I would like to translate SIS into my native language. How can I go about it?
Contact us using the "Contact Us" button at the top of the page.

How can I order SIS? Does AAIDD offer discounts?
The SIS Manual and interview forms in paper version can be ordered through the AAIDD Bookstore. For the SISOnline, please contact us using the "Contact Us" button at the top of the page. Discounts are available to members and for bulk orders.

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The Assessment

How much time does it take to administer SIS-A or SIS-C?
A quality interview usually takes between 2 and 2.5 hours to complete.

Can I start administering SIS-A or SIS-C from any section in the interview form?
Yes, you can administer the SIS-A or SIS-C starting with any section, as long as all each section is completed before moving on to another section. The order in which the subscales (or domains) are completed will not affect the individual’s score. 

Can anyone administer SIS? 
The most reliable assessments are performed by interviewers who have been properly prepared to conduct the assessment. AAIDD provides training in their use, and recommends that the SIS should be administered by a professional who has completed a 4-year degree program and is working in the field of human services. Others who have experience conducting individual assessments and possess an extensive knowledge of behavior rating or psychological testing principles can also administer the assessment.


Does AAIDD offer training on the SIS-A and SIS-C?
Yes, AAIDD has professional trainers who will deliver customized workshops, including

  • Stakeholder meetings and informational sessions
  • Self-directed, online training
  • Interviewer training (we recommends limiting class size to 20 trainees)
  • Training for administrators of SIS programs
  • Train-the-Trainer (Only offered 9 months after completion of Train-the-Interviewer training, and to SIS interviewers with extensive experience with administering the SIS assessment).

To set up a SIS training workshop, please contact us using the "Contact Us" button at the top of the page.

Why should I consider SIS training for staff?
Conducting quality SIS-A or SIS-C interviews is a skill that comes from practical experience. AAIDD's immersive training ensures interviewers are interviewing with integrity and fidelity.

Are there any national workshops on SIS/Train-the-Trainer workshops to be held in the future?
SIS training is customized to meet the needs of an organization/agency. Please contact us using the "Contact Us" button at the top of the page.


SIS Implementation

Who is currently using SIS?
This SIS is in use in North America (Learn More) around the world (Learn More)

Are states using SIS for resource allocation? 
Yes, states using SIS in their decision-making about funds for individualized budgets. For additional information, please see a white paper on How Support Needs Can Be Used to Inform the Allocation of Resources and Funding Decisions.

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