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.

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