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The Supports Intensity Scale Assessment Can be Used to Build Robust Funding Methods for Developmental Disability Services, New Research Reveals

Results from Washington, Louisiana, and the Netherlands boost disability field's quest to tie in public funding and individual budgeting with assessment results

WASHINGTON, July 16 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- One of the most complex issues in disability services is how to allocate limited resources and fund services equitably to people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Over the past four years, the Supports Intensity Scale (SIS) assessment tool, developed by the American Association on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (AAIDD), has arguably been the most used within U.S. states attempting to develop funding applications. Now new research by national experts reveals that SIS does yield solid information about individuals with intellectual disabilities, and that the assessment information can be employed to build robust funding methods. The White Paper titled, "Resource Allocation and the Supports Intensity Scale: Four Papers and Approaches" is available for downloading and commenting at

The Supports Intensity Scale is a unique assessment tool that allows disability professionals to plan services for persons with intellectual disabilities in 85 life areas based on individual needs and goals. Currently, SIS has been adopted by 14 North American states and provinces, and translated into 10 languages.

"Experience to date in using the Supports Intensity Scale in funding applications strongly suggests that SIS results in combination with supplemental information, supports the development of solid funding applications in developmental disability services," say experts Jon Fortune and the late Gary Smith affiliated with the Human Services Research Institute in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

Why care about funding community services for people with intellectual disabilities? Fortune and Smith explain, "The interest stems from several factors, including achieving greater equity in funding among individuals, efficient use of limited public dollars, promoting flexibility in the selection of services, and, most recently, affording individuals and families the opportunity to directly manage a prospectively determined individual budget."

Feedback from states using SIS over the past four years shows that the focus of SIS on uniquely measuring support needs as opposed to deficits of a person enables states to build person-centered systems. Jan Morgan of Oregon's Developmental Disabilities office says, "We believe that SIS will help distribute resources fairly and equitably statewide by using the assessment scores to help develop an Individual Budgeted Amount model." Colorado, Georgia, Louisiana, Washington, and the province of Ontario in Canada have similar interests in using SIS for resource allocation.

As the disability field attempts to tie in public funding for community services and supports to assessment results, studies so far show that the Supports Intensity Scale promises to provide an accurate, equitable, and transparent method to allocate resources to citizens with intellectual disabilities.

Download and post comments: SIS quick facts:

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Founded in 1876, AAIDD promotes progressive policies, sound research, effective practices and universal human rights for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

SOURCE American Association on Intellectual and DevelopmentalDisabilities
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