You heard about the Supports Intensity Scale, examined it, and have finally bought it so that you can start administering the tool with persons with intellectual disabilities. Your staff has enough experience with assessment tools, and, after all, how hard can it be to administer a planning tool, right? Jonathon Crumley, Regional Supervisor with Georgia’s Middle Behavioral Services is not likely to agree. “The difference in my understanding of SIS before and after the AAIDD training workshop was like night and day,” he explains. Like Crumley, Steve Mason of HARC in Florida, Pastor Merle Ihrman of Good Shepherd Communities in California, Ruth Pellman of York Regional Services in Canada, and other professionals across the United States have discovered the benefits of attending a SIS training workshop before administering the Scale.
Since 2004, the American Association on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities has worked with states and private providers to provide one-day introductions to SIS, train-the-trainer programs, as well as training interviewers on administering the Scale. So, what makes SIS training essential? Here's what training attendees and AAIDD senior trainers had to say about the major benefits of attending a SIS training workshop. Understanding the supports focus of SIS
“The heart and soul of SIS is in its person-centered philosophy; with SIS, you are not gauging deficits, but are measuring supports needed to allow a person perform just like a person without a disability,” explains Jonathon Crumley about his biggest takeaway from an AAIDD SIS training workshop. Crumley, along with 13 other trainers, went through extensive SIS training in Georgia, after the state announced adoption of SIS in 2005. “The idea of measuring supports is simple enough, but unless you really understand that concept with proper training and practice, it is very likely that you will revert to a typical functional assessment. If this happens, your scores will be skewed, and ultimately the person with a disability will not receive proper supports and services.”
It is this drive toward providing the best possible care and services to people with intellectual disabilities that prompted Ruth Pellman, a consultant and trainer to York Regional Services (York), to choose SIS over other instruments for the York region of Canada. While discovering the instrument, Pellman realized early on that “SIS training was essential in ensuring that the instrument is administered in a fair, reliable, and professional manner." Pellman, along with 6 other staff persons at YRC, went through SIS training this May with two AAIDD senior trainers. Reiterating what Crumley says about understanding the SIS mindset, Pellman explains, “We had to make sure we learn how to ask questions and hear the answers from the people we serve so that services are based on actual support needs as opposed to our perception of their needs, disabilities, and abilities.” Understanding the transition to a needs-based assessment constitutes a major portion of an AAIDD SIS training workshop.
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