SIS-A, SIS for Adults Skip to Content

Supports Intensity Scale - Adult Version



What is the SIS-A?

The Supports Intensity Scale - Adult Version® (SIS-A®) is a standardized assessment tool designed to measure the pattern and intensity of supports that a person aged 16 years and older with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD) requires to be successful in community settings. First launched in 2004, the assessment tool was developed by AAIDD over a five-year period (1998 to 2003) and normed with over a culturally diverse group of 1,300 people with IDD aged 16 to 72 in 33 US states and two Canadian provinces. The psychometric properties of the tool are strong: research published in peer-reviewed journals around the world continuously demonstrates the reliability and validity of the SIS-A.

SIS-A data describes a profile of the pattern and intensity of supports needs measured by type of support, frequency of support, and daily support time for each individual. In conjunction with other data, the data resulting from the SIS-A can be used to:

  • Provide a composite account and summary of the required supports for each individual and for the overall service, measured by type of support, frequency of support, and daily support time.
  • Predict service needs that aid in planning and the provision of appropriate supports aligned to individuals.
  • Determine appropriate services and staffing required to support each individual.
  • Measure and compare support needs across and among adult clients who receive intellectual and developmental services.

 SIS-A Measures

The SIS-A measures an individual's 

  • Exceptional Medical and Behavioral Support Needs
  • Support Needs for Life Activities in the areas of home living, community living, lifelong learning, employment, health and safety, social activities, and protection and advocacy. 

The Scale ranks each activity according to frequencyamount, and type of support needed.

The SIS-A is Different

The SIS suite of tools shift the focus from deficiencies to support needs, by evaluating the practical supports a person needs to lead an independent life.


The assessment is done through an interview with the person being assessed and those who have known the individual for at least three months.

Man on webinar

From sample interview forms to conducting a pilot program, here's what your colleagues are asking about the SIS.

Support Needs

Support needs are the pattern and intensity of supports necessary for a person to participate in activities linked with typical human functioning.

SIS-A Formats


A paper and pencil-based test using a 12-page Interview and Profile form.

The User's Manual (127 pages) is necessary to complete training and administer a valid interview.



SISOnline is an advanced web application accessed through a standard web browser. Assessment data is entered, stored, and used to generate a variety of reports and statistics.



SISVenture is a data entry module for laptops to temporarily store interview data for later upload into SISOnline.



The SIS-A was published in 2015, replacing the 2004 version of the tool, the Supports Intensity Scale. The authors of the SIS-A are James R. Thompson, Brian R. Bryant, Robert L. Schalock, Karrie A. Shogren, Marc J. Tassé, Michael Wehmeyer, Edward M. Campbell, Ellis M. (Pat) Craig, Carolyn Hughes, and David A. Rotholz.

Connect with AAIDD on Social Media

Join The AAIDD Email List

Annual Conference