PEERS® Social Skills Classes, Coaching & Consultations

In South Jersey, near Philadelphia

Social Skills for Those with Strong Cognitive & Langauge Skills

We welcome all children, teens, and young adults regardless of what their diagnosis is.  Some may be on the autism spectrum, some may have anxiety, others may have ADHD, and some have no diagnosis.  Whatever the case, we specialize in the content they need in order to be successful with the most common social language™ in the area.

PEERS® Social Skills Classes

Our evidence-based classes use role-plays, behavioral rehearsals, social coaching, and parent/caregiver training to help your loved one learn the specifics of the most common social language™ in our area.  They will learn what to do, why they should do it, how to do it, and when.  Once learned, they will be empowered to choose who to communicate with, when, where, and how.

Private PEERS® Coaching & Consultations

Whether you need to address something privately while enrolled in a class, need to bring them around to the idea of help, or want something less intense, these appointments are available to you.  Parents are caregivers are invited to join their child, teen, or young adult.  They are also welcome to schedule an appointment on their own if something needs to be discussed before their loved one is brought into the conversation.

Click Here for Details & Schedules

Many of Our Services Are Available In-Person in South Jersey and Online Worldwide



"High-Functioning" Autism or Asperger's Syndrome


Social-Pragmatic Communication Disorder


General or Social Anxiety





Dr. Elizabeth Laugeson, Psy.D. &
Ellen McSpadden, MA, CCC-SLP, CAS

Owner, Speech-Language Pathologist & Certified Autism Specialist

Children, Teens & Young Adults Find Their Niche.  Parents Become Social Coaches!


Numerous classes and many hours in the classroom… it’s intense!  But, that’s what it takes to teach the “how-to’s” of a new social language.  Reframed and offered in a way that is respectful of neurodiversity, PEERS® teaches the unwritten rules and routines that others around them are following.  Once learned, those who once struggled can hold conversations and develop friendships where, when, and however they choose.


PEERS Social Skills Classes ask the client and their parent/caregiver to attend together.  Each class includes a concrete lesson, in-class practice, helpful handouts, peer-to-peer practice during the week, and time just for parents/caregivers.


Classes cover: conversational skills, expanding social opportunities, choosing appropriate friends, developing friendships, and how to hang-out, handle disagreements, respond to teasing, combat rumors and gossip, etc.  Our young adult program also offers lessons on dating skills.  All courses are complete with a Graduation Party…  The progress we see needs to be celebrated!

On TV & In the Papers

The one that works!  PEERS interventions were developed at UCLA after decades of research and numerous clinical trials to ensure their effectiveness.  Our staff participates in formal training direct from UCLA and will teach your child how to socialize with their peers.

PEERS has been featured in newspapers, on websites, and in broadcasts throughout the country and around the world.  It works that well!  The links on our FAQs page will lead you to articles in the media.  Interested in the research? Click here.

Problems & Solutions
My son has been in his social skills group for years.
  • Years?!  Our goal is to efficiently and thoroughly teach both you and your loved one the necessary skills so that genuine, measurable progress can be made in the real world.
  • At Cheerful Chatter, parents/caregivers simultaneously learn all the skills and strategies needed so they can coach and prepare their loved ones where and when they need it most.
  • When this takes place, progress is seen long after the class ends!
  • Be aware that it takes a lot of time and practice to learn a new social language.  But, it should not take years.
We can't find a group that meets his needs.
  • PEERS was designed for individuals who are often left out of other programs… either because they’re too high-functioning or too old.
  • Using a variety of teaching techniques, PEERS shows children, teens, and young adults the in’s and out’s and the why’s and why not’s of interaction skills so your child can communicate where, when, and with whomever they want.
  • Don’t live nearby?  That’s ok!  All of our services and classes are held in-person and via telehealth simultaneously.  Our goal is to make a positive difference in the lives of our clients and their families wherever they may be.
He loves his social skills group, but he still struggles.
  • The first thing to understand is that there are two types of social skills groups… friendship-matching and skill-based groups.  Both have a place in the lives of those who struggle, but you need the right group at the right time.
  • “Friendship-matching” groups are based on the assumption that because kids share the same difficulty or diagnosis, they’ll develop friendships.
    • Unfortunately, life does not work that way.  True friendships are based on common interests, not because adults group them together.
    • Additionally, increased practice without a focus on skill development usually leads to reinforcement and solidification of the current set of skills.  Anything that may be holding them back in other settings or with other people will become more entrenched.
  • “Skill-based” groups (like PEERS) help children learn a second social language.
    • We inherently understand that people who only speak Mandarin will have significant difficulty interacting with people who only speak French.  We instinctively know that if people speak different oral languages, a conversation is likely impossible.
    • What many don’t realize is that there are also different social languages and they come with different routines, steps, and rules.  If two people who use different social languages try to have a conversation, they will probably have difficulty connecting, a mismatch will eventually happen, and the conversation could break down.
  • Our preferred method is to first join a skill-based group so they can learn additional skills… These skills offer them more tools and choices so they can expand their social world.
    • In this type of group, they’ll learn the unwritten rules behind the dominant social langauge in the area.  When combined with their primary social language, they’ll be able to choose who to communicate with, when, and how they want to do so.
    • As new skills are being refined, participants will learn how to find others with common interests.  They will be coached to join groups that focus on their interests (like friendship-matching groups, sports teams, theater troops, etc.) so they can meet new, potential friends.
  • Also, there are many programs out there that sound good, but have little to no evidence proving that they actually work… and many don’t in the long run.  Ask to see the research before you spend your money.  You can find links to the research behind PEERS here.
My kid doesn't want to join a group.

That’s ok…  We offer individual services, as well.  Individualized Social Coaching and/or Caregiver Consultations offer excellent alternatives to a course when they simply don’t work for your situation.

Your loved one will learn the same skills they would in a class and you will develop the tools you need to be their Social Coach.

Not sure what to do?  Schedule a Meet & Greet and we’ll help you figure it all out.

Current Programs & Schedules

Initial Meet & Greets and Program Screenings

Initial Meet & Greet

There is a lot of information out there… some good, some bad, and some just plain ugly.  It’s very common to be unsure of what’s needed or appropriate for your child or specific situation.

Our Meet & Greets for parents and caregivers (not clients themselves) new to Cheerful Chatter give you much more than basic descriptions, dates, prices, etc.  You will have the undivided, uninterrupted attention of our provider so you can ask questions specific to your needs/situation, your child’s strengths/weaknesses, and determine if one of our services is right for you or your child.


PEERS Screening

If you are new to Cheerful Chatter, a screening is required before joining a class.  The goal is to ensure that your child will benefit from the program of interest.  Screenings include a thorough description of the program in question, time for everyone’s questions (including the participant’s), and a brief screening of the participant’s interests, language, and/or behavioral skills.

PEERS Social Skills Classes

These classes are best for children, tweens, teens & young adults who are

    • Verbal and have at or near-average cognitive and oral language skills
    • Successful in at least one mainstream, academic class (young adults have left high school)
    • Behaviorally independent

Our Classes

    • Are held in-person (much preferred) and via telehealth simultaneously to allow for the greatest flexibility and access
    • Are limited to a maximum of 10 participants per class
    • Include: peer-to-peer practice during class with social coaching, assigned peer-to-peer get-togethers or phone calls (age-dependent) during the week so they can continue refining their new skills, handouts with all the information so there is no need to take notes, and time just for parents and caregivers… We’ll celebrate successes and troubleshoot any problems that come up
    • Require parent/caregiver attendance, participation, and weekly carryover assignments…  Their progress depends on it!  Parents and caregivers will relax in the parent lounge while they watch a live feed from the classroom.  Everyone will learn the same skills and strategies so they can effectively coach their loved one at home
    • Are based on the research, evidence, and programs from UCLA’s Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human Behavior.  They are research-based, evidence-based, and parent-assisted (a critical detail)

Additional Details

    • Unfortunately, these classes are not deemed medically necessary by insurance carriers and are therefore not covered by insurance
    • However, funds from HSAs, FSAs, PerformCare, etc. may be used to cover the cost
    • A screening is required for all those who are unfamiliar to Cheerful Chatter to ensure the course is appropriate for your loved one

PEERS for Elementary School (Fall 2023)

    • Fridays from 5:00-6:45 pm (doors open at 4:50)
    • Class Dates:
      • September 8th, 22nd & 29th
      • October 6th, 13th, 20th & 27th
      • November 3rd & 17th
      • December 1st & 8th
      • Make-ups in the event we are unable to hold a class: December 15th and/or 22nd
    • Cost: $1,500
      • The total may be paid in-full or split across three payments of $525
      • Seats are not guaranteed until payment has been made in-full
      • Refunds are only given when Cheerful Chatter is not able to provide a class

PEERS for Middle & High School: Part 1 of 2 (Winter 2024)

    • Fridays from 5:00-7:30 pm (doors open at 4:50)
    • Class Dates:
      • January 19th & 26th
      • February 2nd, 9th & 23rd
      • March 1st, 8th & 15th
      • Make-ups in the event we are unable to hold a class: March 22nd and/or 29th
    • Cost: $1,500
      • The total may be paid in-full or split across three payments of $525
      • Seats are not guaranteed until payment has been made in-full
      • Refunds are only given when Cheerful Chatter is not able to provide a class

PEERS for Middle & High School: Part 2 of 2 (Spring 2024)

    • Fridays from 5:00-7:30 pm (doors open at 4:50)
    • Class Dates:
      • April 12th, 19th & 26th
      • May 3rd, 10th, 17th & 31st
      • June 7th
      • Make-ups in the event we are unable to hold a class: June 14th and/or 21st
    • Cost: $1,500
      • The total may be paid in-full or split across three payments of $525
      • Seats are not guaranteed until payment has been made in-full
      • Refunds are only given when Cheerful Chatter is not able to provide a class

PEERS for Young Adults (year-round)

    • Wednesdays from 6:45-7:30 pm
    • Young adults and their families are free to join or end their participation at any time
    • Cost: $75 per class
      • Payable via automated weekly invoices
      • Refunds are only given when Cheerful Chatter is not able to provide a class
    Private Coaching & Consultations

    Private PEERS® coaching sessions are best for children, teens, and young adults who are unable to take a class.  Ideal participants have at or near-average oral language skills, but struggle with conversations, friendships, and other social skills.

    Using the PEERS® methodology, we will help them learn the skills underlying the most common social language™ in the region.  Once learned, your loved one will be socially bilingual™ and empowered to communicate with anyone they want, anywhere they are.

    Parents and caregivers may participate in PEERS® coaching sessions, observe from afar, or attend alone.  No matter how you look at it, help is best delivered where and when the issue arises (better yet, just before they head into a social situation).  So, we want all of our parents and caregivers to be fully versed in the program we are teaching their loved one.  That way, they’ll be able to take advantage of their unique position, deliver support exactly when it is needed, and have a lasting impact.  We will answer your questions, help you troubleshoot specific situations, and guide you through the information you need to become your child’s best social coach.