The “Pearl” Necklace

When Hannah was three years old she was getting lots of intervention; speech and language therapy, occupational therapy, physical therapy, behavioral therapy, and she was also in a public school ESE (Exceptional Student Education) preschool program. So many goals to be thinking about… it was overwhelming!

One day I was talking to my dear friend Nance about how concerned I was that Hannah was missing so many milestones. I had even stopped reading the baby/toddler/preschool development books. Nance shared a very wise idea that has stayed with me all these years. I have shared it hundreds and hundreds of times and I hope you will too.


Nancy told me to envision an empty strand or cord around my neck. Each time Hannah was able to accomplish a task that was so hard for her that I was to “add an imaginary pearl” onto the necklace. For example, these “pearls” included Hannah finally being able to blow out the birthday candles at her fifth birthday, making eye contact with the person she was trying to communicate with, putting a sentence together with her PECS cards (Picture Exchange Communication System), singing a special song, kissing a grandparent, dancing in a recital after months of classes, or anytime she achieved something she had worked really hard to master.

At some point, I remember telling Nance that I thought my necklace was full and I would have to start a second one, then a third one! Take the time to see and relish in even the small accomplishments. It’s very important that you find those “pearls” with your child!

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