The Survey of Wellbeing of Young Children (SWYC) is a free, parent-report screening instrument for children under five years of age. The SWYC was developed to provide first-level screening for a wide range of developmental-behavioral domains in a single instrument: cognitive, language, motor milestones, social-emotional/behavioral functioning, as well as autism and family risk factors. The entire instrument requires 15 minutes to complete and is easy to score and interpret.

There is an age-specific SWYC form for each age on the pediatric periodicity schedule up to five years of age (2, 4, 6, 9, 12, 15, 18, 24, 30, 36, 48, and 60 months). Each of these 12 forms consists of questions appropriate for children in its designated age range. All forms are available as free, downloadable PDFs on the SWYC website.


Developmental Domain

  • At each age level, parents complete a Developmental Milestones checklist, consisting of 10 questions about the child’s motor, language, and cognitive development. Each form includes items appropriate for a range of skills at that age.
  • For children between 16 and 35 months of age the forms include the Parent’s Observations of Social Interactions (POSI), a seven-item autism-specific screener.


Social-Emotional/Behavioral Domain

Each form also asks parents whether they have any concerns about their child's behavior, learning, or development (two items).


Family Context

  • Each form includes a set of screening questions addressing aspects of the child’s family context, including parental discord, depression, substance abuse, and hunger (nine items).


The SWYC is designed as a surveillance or first-level screening instrument for routine use in regular well childcare. It combines developmental and behavioral screening, and adds screening for autism, parental depression and other family risk factors. It is designed as a single package to use regularly over the course of a child’s health supervision. However, it is also acceptable to use individual parts of the SWYC separately to meet particular needs. 

The SWYC is available in electronic format through the Child Health & Development Interactive System (CHADIS) and Patient Tools, and will be available for incorporation into electronic medical records soon.

Scoring guidelines for all parts of the SWYC are available online at

Please contact with questions or feedback.


For more information about SDQ.



This information is provided by MassHealth.