Meet the authors of SIS
Here’s the team of experts who developed the Supports Intensity Scale over 5 years. We asked each of them what they have to say about SIS, two years after its launch.
Dr. James R. Thompson, Professor and Chairperson, Department of Special Education, Illinois State University
Dr. James R. Thompson is the lead author of the Supports Intensity Scale and has been teaching students with special needs since 1980, when he realized that his true calling was in special education. In addition to writing over 50 book chapters, monographs, and articles, Dr. Thompson has directed numerous research and development projects in special education and related fields, and has held offices within the American Association on Mental Retardation (AAMR), the Council for Exceptional Children, and The Arc of the United States. Among other achievements, Jim is proud of his proficiency at playing 3rd base on a softball team. “Few handle the“hot corner” as well as I can!” he says.
“What has pleased me the most about the Supports Intensity Scale since its publication is the number of people who have told me that completing SIS has challenged planning team members to envision individuals with disabilities in a broader array of community settings and activities than those in which they are currently participating. It is easy to settle for the “status quo”, and I’m delighted that SIS is promoting thoughtful consideration of ways that individuals can be supported to more fully participate in and contribute to society.”
Dr. Thompson’s work on developing the Supports Intensity Scale is featured in the September 2004 issue of The Statewide Standard.
Dr. Brian R. Bryant, President, Psycho-Educational Services
Dr. Brian R. Bryant lives and works in Austin, Texas and has served in many professional capacities, including Director of Research at Pro-Ed, Inc., an adjunct faculty member at The University of Texas at Austin, and Research Fellow at the University’s Vaughn Gross Center for Reading and Language Arts. Author of over 100 articles, tests, professional development guides, and books, Dr. Bryant’s research interests include individuals with learning disabilities and mental retardation, particularly with regards to reading, mathematics, and assistive technology applications throughout the lifespan.
“I am glad people are finding the Supports Intensity Scale of value. Truth be told, there are a number of scales that are technically sound, yet never see any use. For a scale like SIS to be viable, someone has to find the scale to be of sufficient value as to be worth the time and effort to change what they are currently doing, sometimes dramatically. That is happening, and the practical focus on supports assessment and provision is good to see.”
Dr. Ellis M. (Pat) Craig, Consultant
After 36 years of service, Dr. Ellis M. (Pat) Craig retired from the Texas Department of Mental Health and Mental Retardation in 2003. Dr. Craig currently consults as a psychologist for mental retardation programs, conducting diagnostic assessments and behavior programming. In addition to authoring 22 book chapters and articles in professional journals, Dr. Craig has made presentations at numerous conferences. He has served as AAMR's Psychology Division President as well as President of state and regional AAMR chapters.
“The relatively slow rate of adoption by service agencies is a concern, but not unexpected. Nevertheless, the potential benefits of SIS for directly, rather than inferentially, assessing support needs and financial costs should eventually lead to wide-spread use.”
Dr. Edward M. Campbell, Founder, E=MC2 Consulting, Inc.
Dr. Edward M. Campbell worked for the South Dakota Department of Human Services for 30 years before retiring in 2004. Dr. Campbell developed South Dakota's "SBR," a system which generates individual reimbursement amounts (IRAs) to assure the equitable distribution of resources keyed to the needs of the consumer. Dr. Campbell also developed a similar system for Wyoming ("DOORS") and participated in the development of the Supports Intensity Scale. Currently, he owns a company, E=MC2 Consulting, Inc., specializing in human services research applications.
“Several states have plans to develop systems to generate Individual Reimbursement Amounts (IRAs) or individual budgets from the Supports Intensity Scale data. While the SIS's ability to explain actual expenditure amounts remains to be seen, it can be anticipated that SIS data will significantly contribute to this process. I am looking forward to learning how SIS relates to other instruments, and how it enhances the ability to assure the equitable distribution of resources.”
Dr. Carolyn Hughes, Professor, Department of Special Education, Vanderbilt University
In addition to teaching courses in special education at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tennessee, Dr. Carolyn Hughes is also a research investigator in the John F. Kennedy Center at Vanderbilt. Dr. Hughes’ research interests are in the areas of transition to adult life for high poverty youth, self-determination and support strategies for at-risk students and students with disabilities, and social interaction among general education high school students and their peers with disabilities. She has managed several federally-funded projects, including the Metropolitan Nashville Peer Buddy Program and Project OUTCOME, a program for high school students with disabilities from high poverty backgrounds.
“Working together to develop the Supports Intensity Scale and trying to anticipate and address challenges that would come up with its use was a wonderful experience. It is very rewarding now to see its growing widespread adoption and how it is providing a systematic process for building more supportive environments and lives for people with intellectual disabilities.”
Read an article on Dr. Hughes’ work on SIS at http://www.vanderbilt.edu/register/articles?id=15692
Dr. David A. Rotholz, University of South Carolina, School of Medicine
Dr. Rotholz is Clinical Associate Professor and Project Director for the Center for Disability Resources at the University of South Carolina’s School of Medicine. Dr. Rotholz works with the Center’s staff and the state mental retardation and developmental disability agency to direct system change effort in behavior support, provide technical assistance, and train staff on evaluation, research, and training projects related to research and training in developmental disabilities. Dr. Rotholz is also Director of the Behavior Support Team with the South Carolina Department of Disabilities and Special Needs. Dr. Rotholz has served as editor on high-ranking journals and has written more than 20 publications, including the best selling Positive Behavior Support Training Curriculum published by AAMR.
“Seeing an increasing number of states adopt the Supports Intensity Scale is quite gratifying. The contribution of SIS to a meaningful planning process for successful community living for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities is one practical example of our actions accomplishing our mission.”
Dr. Robert L. Schalock, Founder, Bob Schalock & Associates
Dr. Robert Schalock is Professor Emeritus at Hastings College in Nebraska where he chaired the Psychology Department and directed the Cognitive Behavior Lab from 1967 to 2000. Dr. Schalock is a prolific writer and is arguably most known for his work on quality of life in planning and delivering individualized services and supports. He has published numerous books and articles on personal and program outcomes, the supports paradigm, adaptive behavior, clinical judgment, and quality of life, and travels across the world consulting on human service issues. Dr. Schalock and his wife Susan are “semi-retired” and live in the mountains of northeast Washington State. His hobbies include gardening, camping, and fishing.
“I have been amazed at both the national and international interest in the Supports Intensity Scale and its increasing use at the individual, agency, and systems levels. To me, the most impressive aspect of SIS has been and is its international relevance as agency and systems-level personnel implement the supports paradigm. Over the last two years, my observation has been that SIS is truly ‘the right instrument at the right time’.”
Dr. Wayne P. Silverman, Director, Intellectual Disabilities Research, Department of Psychology, Kennedy Krieger Institute in Baltimore
Dr. Wayne Silverman was head of the Department of Psychology at the New York State Institute for Basic Research in Developmental Disabilities before moving to the Kennedy Krieger Institute in 2006. During his 33-year career, Wayne has conducted both basic and applied research focused on many issues relevant to intellectual impairment and developmental disabilities. Wayne is a Fellow of AAMR, the American Psychological Society, the International Association for the Scientific Study of Intellectual Disabilities, and the American Psychological Association. He is also the current President-Elect of The Academy on Mental Retardation.
“I'm very happy to see how well-received the Supports Intensity Scale has been, and I'm hopeful that it is having its anticipated positive impact in supporting the goals and aspirations of people with disabilities.”
Dr. Marc J. Tassé, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Dr. Marc J. Tassé is Associate Professor of Psychiatry and Community Education Director at the UNC-CH Center for Development at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Dr. Tassé is a clinical psychologist who enjoys working with individuals with developmental disabilities who also present co-occurring mental health problems and/or complex behavior problems. Originally from Québec, Dr. Tassé’s previous positions include a postdoctoral fellowship at the Ohio State University Nisonger Center and a faculty position in the Department of Psychology at the Université du Québec à Montréal. He has over 60 publications in peer-reviewed journal articles, book chapters, and books in the area of developmental disabilities.
“I'm excited to see the broad interest in the Supports Intensity Scale. This interest is illustrated in the hard work that people from around the world have put forth to translate and adapt SIS into several languages/cultures. I am also most excited to see that folks correctly understand SIS as being a new standardized instrument/approach that makes us focus on what it takes to help the individual with developmental disabilities be successful in his or her life activities rather than focus once again on what the person can and cannot do.”
Dr. Michael L. Wehmeyer, University of Kansas
Dr. Michael L. Wehmeyer is with the University of Kansas where he is Professor of Special Education; Director of the Center on Developmental Disabilities; and Associate Director of the Beach Center on Disability. Dr. Wehmeyer is engaged in teacher personnel preparation in the area of severe, multiple disabilities and directs several federally-funded projects on research and model development in the education of students with intellectual and developmental disabilities. He is the author of more than 180 articles and book chapters and has written 19 books on issues from self-determination and technology use for people with cognitive disabilities to universal design for learning and access to the general curriculum for students with significant disabilities.
"What has struck me in the two years since the publication of the Supports Intensity Scale is the importance of conceptualizing the constructs of 'supports' and 'support need' in our field, and the potential of an instrument like SIS to enable the delivery of supports to be made based upon support need and not simply proxies for need, like IQ."
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