Supports Intensity Scale®

Learn More ad

cfc ad


Most frequently asked questions about SIS

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.

Can I see a sample SIS-A interview form?
Our interview forms are copyright materials, but you may visit this link to read a case study based on a completed SIS interview form.

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

Can I start administering SIS-A from any section in the interview form?
Yes, you can administer the SIS-A starting with any section, as long as all the sections are completed.  The SIS-A is a semi-structured standardized assessment, and the order in which the subscales (or domains) are completed will not affect the individual’s score. 

Can anyone administer SIS? 
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 (for example, case manager, psychologist, social worker). Others who have experience conducting individual assessments and possess an extensive knowledge of behavior rating or psychological testing principles can also administer the assessment.

Is there an electronic version of SIS available?
There is an electronic database set up for entering and storing SIS-A interview data. SISOnline is a web-based application that requires a user log-in, and can be accessed universally at 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

Some organizations use SISVenture in conjunction with SISOnline. SISVenture is a desktop application that allows you to score Supports Intensity Scale interviews. SISVenture temporarily stores interview data to be uploaded to SISOnline.

How can I order SIS? Does AAIDD offer discounts?
The SIS Manual and interview forms in paper version can be ordered by calling 202-387-1968 or sending an email to  Don't forget to ask about our discounts for those with AAIDD membership. If you are interested in using the web-based application, SISOnline, please send a query to

Does AAIDD offer training on SIS?
Yes, AAIDD offers a cadre of professional trainers who will deliver customized workshops to your staff. Training ranges from a one-day comprehensive introduction – including information on the relevant SIS product and administration process – to conducting in-depth staff training. 

AAIDD offers many kinds of training on SIS:

  • Stakeholder meetings and informational sessions
  • Self-directed, online training
  • Interviewer training
  • 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.

AAIDD highly recommends offering additional training to your staff on reliability and conducting interviews.  To set up a SIS training workshop, please email with the following details: Name of your organization, location, and preferred date for training.  AAIDD recommends no more than 20 trainees for the Interviewer training.

Why should I consider SIS training for staff?

Conducting quality SIS-A interviews is a skill that comes from practical experience. The SIS is as effective as the interview conducted with the client, and the immersive training AAIDD offers ensures interviewers are interviewing with integrity and fidelity. In an in-depth training workshop, AAIDD trainers will:

  • Teach trainees how to interpret SIS-A questions
  • Orient trainees to the SIS rating system
  • Equip trainees with interviewing techniques to heighten the quality of the interview data
  • Conduct mock interviews to give trainees valuable interviewing experience
  • Conduct a live interview with real respondents to give trainees the opportunity to complete a valid assessment and to allow the AAIDD trainer to determine the trainees’ readiness to interview independently
  • Offer comprehensive feedback

AAIDD highly recommends that staff undergo training on the interview process so that SIS-A interview results are consistent across all staff members administering the Scale.

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  and include details of your training request in your query.

Who is currently using SIS?
Since its publication since January 2004, SIS is being used across the U.S. and abroad by service providers and agencies.  There are currently 26 states and provinces that have adopted the tool.  AAIDD is in discussion with other states about adoption of SIS. Internationally, SIS has been translated into fourteen languages, and is in use in several countries, including Iceland, Latvia, Netherlands, and Taiwan. More foreign language translations are forthcoming.

Are SIS-A and SIS-C specifically for use with people with intellectual disabilities?
Yes. The SIS-A was normed on a population of over 1,200 people with intellectual and developmental disabilities in the US and Canada. The SIS-C was normed on a population of over 4,000 children with mild to severe intellectual disability in cohorts corresponding to their age group.

Can SIS be used with other developmental disability populations?

How is SIS different from adaptive behavior scales?
While both the SIS and most adaptive behavior scales are reliable, standardized assessments, 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.

I am a parent and I love SIS-A and would like it to be used with my child with a developmental disability. What should I do?
AAIDD has published the children's version of the SIS-A (SIS-C). Click here for more information.

Is AAIDD the sole publisher of SIS-A?
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?
Please send AAIDD a query at

Are states using SIS for resource allocation? 
Yes, states using SIS as a funding model to set individualized budgets. For additional information, please visit our white paper on How Support Needs Can Be Used to Inform the Allocation of Resources and Funding Decisions.