In this episode of Parenting Impossible, host Annette Hines and guest Matthew Cox discuss what it’s like to grow up with a learning disability and how it applies to distance learning in today’s climate. 

Matthew Cox spent his elementary and middle school years thinking there was something wrong with his brain. For him, school work was a daunting and often embarrassing challenge. He was the kid who never seemed to catch up with his classmates, no matter how hard he tried. “Growing up with a disability was like having an elephant in the room that nobody wants to talk about,” says Matthew. However, being diagnosed with a learning disability during high school helped him put a name to the problem and begin his journey to personal and academic success. 

Thanks to his family, Matthew was able to overcome the hardship of his disability and has dedicated his life to helping others find their purpose. He now hosts a variety of training workshops, speaking engagements and his own podcast, Purpose Driven Person Show.

Annette and Matthew begin by discussing his personal experience as a child and how he couldn’t read or write like everyone else his age. This was embarrassing for Matthew, and at the time, he didn’t understand why he was different. After he was diagnosed with ADHD, he realized there was no one-size-fits-all system for learning and knew he never wanted another child to feel the way he had growing up.

From that moment on, he began working with foster children and realized helping others was his gift. “For me, as a short bus kid,” says Matthew, “I had to learn to love myself, but it took a long time to get to that point.”

Later, Annette and Mathew talk about neurodiversity and how our current situation with COVID-19 mimics issues Matthew experienced as a child. “Kids should be given a different option if they’re more visual learners,” explains Mathew. They also discuss the need to fight for education reform, particularly within the special education community.

“If we actually listened to kids and parents, I think we could come together as a community and do something really inspirational with our education system,” says Annette.

Annette Hines has been practicing in the areas of Special Needs, Elder Law, and Estate Planning for more than 20 years. Ms. Hines brings personal experience with special needs to her practice and podcasts as the mother of two daughters, one of whom passed away from Mitochondrial disease in November 2013. This deep, personal understanding of special needs fuels her passion for quality special needs planning and drives her dedication to help others within the special needs community.