PREP for Social Success: A Guide for Parents of Children with Autism

Jamie Carter, Ph.D., and Ahna O’Shaughnessy, M.A. have developed a  four-step program to help parents teach their children diagnosed with an Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD)  how to improve social skills and emotion management.  Their book, PREP for Social Success: A Guide for Parents of Children with Autism, is available exclusively through Amazon Kindle.


Parents who have a child with  ASD often experience  stress and pressure because their children  have difficulty in social settings.  These settings range from participating in family gatherings, to fitting in at school, to getting and keeping a job.  Children may feel anxious or overwhelmed in these everyday settings.  If they have inadequate communication and coping skills this may lead to uncooperative behavior, unusual behavior, or emotional distress.

PREP for Social Success outlines four easy steps  (PLAN, REHEARSE, ENCOURAGE, PRAISE) that parents can use to teach their children  with ASD how to more effectively handle and adapt to a variety of social settings.  These settings include school, group activities, community settings, work settings, and novel situations.   Parents  learn a variety of techniques to use when  applying  PREP.  These include using visual cues, telling stories, developing scripts, performing role plays, playing games, and mapping out desired behaviors.

When asked why she decided to write the book, O’Shaughnessy replied “I have been working with families of children with ASD for many years.  It is clear that  parents put great effort into trying to improve their child’s social functioning, yet oftentimes these efforts are not successful.  I wanted to develop an easy to remember technique that could be tailored to the specific child and situation and lead to a positive outcome.  By using the PREP program, the child will feel more at ease in social situations and the parent will be less anxious about how the child is doing.”

The authors have a combined 50 years of experience in treating children and adults.  Jamie Carter is a Clinical Psychologist who has provided consultation to a variety of community and government agencies.  She has performed evaluations and provided psychotherapy as well as developing behavior support plans. Ahna O’Shaughnessy is a Psychology Associate, providing behavior intervention services to various agencies and schools that  serve adults and children with autism and other neurodevelopmental disorders in the Greater D.C. and Baltimore areas.  The authors can be reached at:

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This article was featured in Issue 39 – Working Together to Communicate Better

Jamie Carter

Dr. Jamie E. Carter is a clinical psychologist with many years of experience in performing assessments for children and adults and providing psychotherapy and consultations. Co-authors of PREP for Social Success: A Guide for Parents of Children with Autism. It is a social skills manual that provides an easy-to-follow, four step program to help your child improve social functioning and emotion management. It is available exclusively through Amazon Kindle at and can be downloaded to a Kindle device, a tablet, or a computer.

  • Avatar Marian says:

    Is there a course my 15 year old very shy asd boy could attend.

  • Avatar Donald E Lewis says:

    I am concerned that most all of the effort and money is to care for the children after the autism is diagnosed. I want to know more what is the cause. I am not a scientist but an experienced Organic Farmer/Gardener starting in 1950. It was because of a bad experience with 24-D herbicide for weed control. Never used it again and started my journey in organic Farming on my Vermont Dairy Farm comparing it with the chemicals for three years. This is all took as my cows gave me the answer as well as the earthworms. I changed totally organic in 1953 and never have used chemicals since.
    I cannot write all my success here but one can type on google and my story is there. ALADAY LLC Is Monsanto a Monster I have learn more after I wrote my book Learned by the Fencepost published in 2011. I am still learning at 88 as there is no end to learning how best to manage the soil and grow the best produce without chemicals. It took Mother Nature millions of years before man to build up our fertile soil where all food comes from. Man trying to out do with chemicals has put humanity in a difficult situation by burning up the life of the soil with hot acid chemicals. The over load is in the water ways around the world and causing terrible problems by causing tremendous fish kill. The over load of chemicals is also released into the atmosphere causing problems. I find organic feeds food plants as needed and builds up the soil without losing humus. Osmoses feeds plant naturally and not stimulate sick plants with overload. The top six inches below the surface is where this action takes place and the chemicals destroy this natural procedure and the plants are stimulated not grown. My soil test tell me so.

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