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Type of Measure: Parent’s Observations of Social Interaction (POSI) is one component of the Survey of Wellbeing of Young Children (SWYC) that was designed to detect Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). It is a 7-item screening tool that was developed from the Modified Checklist for Autism in Toddlers (M-CHAT).

Target Population: Children ages 16-18 months

Measurement properties and previous use: The validity and reliability of the POSI was evaluated by Smith, Sheldrick, Perrin (2013), who assessed internal consistency, concurrent validity, specificity, and sensitivity across two studies. In Study 1, scores on the POSI and M-CHAT were compared against the results of a clinical ASD evaluation in a sample of 217 children (18-48 months). Findings indicated that the POSI’s sensitivity (89%) was higher than that of the M-CHAT (71%), but that the specificities were comparable (POSI-54%; M-CHAT-62%). In Study 2, the scores of 232 children (16-36 months) were examined, and findings indicated that the POSI had significantly higher sensitivity than the M-CHAT (83% vs 50%), but lower specificity (75% vs 84%). Internal consistency was acceptable in both studies (0.83 and 0.86, respectively).

Languages: English, Spanish, Burmese, Nepali, and Portuguese (see Translations)

Authors and Citation: Smith, N. J., Sheldrick, R. C., & Perrin, E. C. (2013). An abbreviated screening instrument for autism spectrum disorders. Infant Mental Health Journal, 34(2), 149-155.

Licence: The POSI is freely available for use, per the Survey of Wellbeing of Children’s FAQ website. It cannot be modified without expressed permission of the authors. If you are interested in translating any component of the SWYC into a new language or administering it in a way for which the downloadable forms are not appropriate, please contact Kate Mattern at:

Link to measure: Parent’s Observations of Social Interaction (POSI)

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