Military Special Needs Network

Proudly Supporting all Military Families with a Special Needs Dependent

The Special Needs Shuffle


Not quite a linear path to success.

You all know the drill: one step forward, two or three (heck, sometimes four or five) steps backward. We’ve been told time and time again that our kiddo’s development would not take a linear trajectory; that it would look more jagged. And for years, I’ve fought that mindset.

“Not my kid!”

“There’s no need for him to lose a skill or three in order to make progress on a different skillset.”

“What do you mean, we’re making progress on OT issues, so it makes sense to see regression in his speech?”

It’s a mixed blessing that my kids have such a stubborn momma!

However, and listen to the organ music in the background, I am here to testify today that I am a believer. I get it. I have been beat over the head enough. No more – “Uncle!”

And, so, we are doing the Special Needs Shuffle (I think it’s a Two-Step!) with one of our boys right now. His language skills and math – MATH! – is off the chart right now. We’re seeing an explosion of learning from him. Aaaand we’re also seeing an explosion in temper from him and an increase in negative behaviors. The increase in language (vocab, mean-length utterances, understanding, etc.) has resulted in actual back-talk and yelling. Once upon a time, I would have given my left arm to hear my little pumpkin tell me, “It’s FINE! Leave me alone!”

Not so much anymore.

“No!” has lost its charm.

And so, we work back in compliance, following directions and “using nice words” into our day. Which isn’t a problem, per se. I know that this lippy, behavioral phase will be short-lived. The “fun” is guessing where the growth – and backslides – will be next!

Now. Who’s ready to dance?


Kelly is a Navy wife and mother to three children; 16 year old NT, 6 and 5 year old boys on the spectrum; and, since life was getting a touch boring, she’s added a bun in the oven. Kelly has been featured in a collection of essays on special needs children entitled, “Wit and Wisdom From the Parents of Special Needs Children.” She can also be found at, and as a guest blogger throughout the blog-iverse. In her spare time, Kelly is the Blog Master for, and member of, the Military Special Needs Network Executive Board. You can contact her via email at

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This entry was posted on January 8, 2013 by in All.
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