The Instrument for the Classification and Assessment of Support Needs (I-CAN)

The I-CAN is a support needs assessment designed to assess and guide support delivery for people with a disability, including psychosocial disability (mental illness).

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The I-CAN is based on the World Health Organisation’s International Classification of Functioning, Disability and Health (ICF).

The ICF’s Activity and Participation domains are supplemented by three domains based on health and wellbeing, resulting in a total of 12 domains:

  1. Mobility
  2. Domestic Life
  3. Self Care
  4. Community, Social & Civic Life
  5. Communication
  6. Learning & Applying Knowledge
  7. General Tasks and Demands
  8. Life Long Learning
  9. Interpersonal Interactions & Relationships
  10. Behaviours of Concern
  11. Mental & Emotional Health
  12. Physical Health

Each domain is then broken into four support needs ratings. For example:

1. Mobility includes:

  • Transfers & positioning
  • Carrying, moving & handling objects
  • Walking & moving
  • Transport

The only domain that is not broken into four ratings is Physical Health, which has 10 ratings reflecting a range of health systems.

Support Ratings

Scoring for the I-CAN is broken down into two components of support- frequency and type, each rated out of 5.

The I-CAN’s statistical summary reports the average and highest rating for each domain, giving a snapshot of an individual’s support needs.



A woman and man laughing together in the community

The Supports Paradigm and Person-Environment Fit

The I-CAN is based on a model in which supports are considered:

  • an integral part of all human functioning,
  • dependent on a person’s health, life pursuits and environments, and not an enduring characteristic of the person,
  • needed according to a person’s environment and chosen valued life pursuits.

Not all people want or can achieve a normative level of human functioning, regardless of what supports are in place. More important is a focus on the actual supports needed and wanted to pursue a valued life.

Person-Centred and Strengths-Based

By focusing on support needs, the I-CAN is intrinsically person-centred and focuses much more on strengths than functional assessments.

For example:

A functional assessment may say: “Bob can’t count change” or “Bob’s financial literacy is at the 2nd percentile, compared to his peers”’

A supports-need assessment such as the  I-CAN focuses on what support Bob needs to achieve the kind of life he values, and thus would say something along the lines of “Bob can use his payWave card to make minor purchases”


a group of people sitting around a table with two people high fiving

Becoming an I-CAN assessor

Only people with a current I-CAN assessor certificate are authorised to conduct I-CANs. In order to become an I-CAN assessor, a practitioner must complete:

  • a full day workshop (currently delivered online). The cost of training includes a provisional I-CAN account. This account has all the features of a full I-CAN account, but any assessment created on a provisional account will have a 'draft' watermark. This watermark is removed (including from existing reports) if a user takes out a full license after being accredited as an I-CAN assessor. This enables potential users to 'try before they buy', to ensure that the I-CAN is a good fit for their practice.
  • complete an I-CAN assessment with a client, ensuring you have the client's consent to share the assessment for review
  • submit the completed assessment to the I-CAN team for for feedback and review
  • incorporate feedback and resubmit the assessment for approval

Once the I-CAN team is happy with your submitted assessment, you will receive certification as an I-CAN assessor. This certification lasts for one year.  In order to continue using the I-CAN, you must take out a full licence. You can find the current I-CAN licence costs by clicking here. An annual licence allows you to conduct unlimited assessments and removed the 'draft' watermark from the I-CAN you have already completed. 

Why does assessment only last one year?

We require I-CAN assessors to resubmit an assessment for review once a year to ensure ongoing quality control of I-CAN assessments being produced. The reassessment process protects the reputation of all I-CAN users, ensures greater inter-rater reliability, and can be a great opportunity to demonstrate continuing professional development.

The process for recertification is as follows:

  • before your certification reaches its annual expiry, you will receive a reminder from a member of the I-CAN team asking you to submit an assessment for review.
  • submit any assessment completed in the past year, as long as the client has consent to having that assessment shared for review
  • incorporate feedback and resubmit the assessment for approval

Once the I-CAN team is happy with your submitted assessment, you will receive recertification as an I-CAN assessor. This recertification lasts for one year. In order to continue using the I-CAN, you must also renew you licence. 

Who can become an I-CAN assessor?

There are no pre-requisites to attending I-CAN training, but experience with conducting clinical assessments is strongly encouraged.

Upcoming I-CAN assessor training workshops are posted on .

For more information or to be added to the training mailing list, please email: