Colorado adopts the Supports Intensity Scale
After a rigorous analysis of ten national and state tools that could potentially yield a robust mechanism for determing support needs and allocating resources to its citizens with intellectual disabilities, Colorado announced the adoption of the Supports Intensity Scale late last year. Shortly thereafter, key personnel from the state went through an AAIDD SIS training program and completed over 700 interviews with its citizens with intellectual disabilities by December 31, 2006. Based on an analysis of the assessment data collected so far as well as a number of other factors, Colorado will determine a funding rate for services. The anticipated date of release for this is July 2007.
Fred DeCrescentis, Director of the Division for Developmental Disabilities in Colorado explains in a detailed memo
sent to state stakeholders that SIS was chosen for several key reasons. Notably, the Supports Intensity Scale won over the state due to its focus on the now and present as opposed to a “look back” approach like most other tools. Further, DeCrescentis explains, “The SIS yields more reliable and valid information about individual support needs and, thereby, a better foundation for linking funding to such needs…In summary, the Division of Developmental Disabilities believes that Colorado would be best serviced by selecting the Supports Intensity Scale and looks forward to the anticipated benefits identified on behalf of individuals receiving services.” The Supports Intensity Scale is also the only tool that includes a focus on employment-related supports, and this gave SIS an advantage over other instruments, says DeCrescentis.
Like most other states using SIS, Colorado has opted for SISOnline, a web-based version of the Scale that allows for several data aggregation and reporting features. Sixteen professionals from the state underwent an AAIDD train-the-trainer workshop for over two weeks in September and October of last year. The trainers in turn trained several interviewers on conducting reliable SIS interviews with people with intellectual disabilities served by the state. Click here
for more information on the implementation of SIS in Colorado.