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Against All Odds ​

Matthew is a special needs young man and a courageous writer. This is his story…. ​ Shortly after he was born, his doctors delivered a grim diagnosis. Matthew would never be able to walk. The doctors were correct about Matthew not walking—for a couple of years, anyway. ​ When he was in third grade, the school psychologist tested Matthew and declared he would never be able to learn anything. But Matthew, along with his mom Tracy, were persistent and had faith. Instead of being limited, Matthew made a habit of defying the limits of his diagnoses. Matthew was born with the odds stacked against him. After years of therapy, Matthew was not only walking but playing hockey on rollerblades. From third grade to eighth grade, mom homeschooled him and his older brother. ​ It was 2009. Matthew was 22 when his mother discovered he was the victim of domestic violence by a family member. She removed him the instant she heard it was happening. She too, was experiencing abuse, and the departure was long overdue. The violence and stalking continued even after they left. Apparently this contributed to the reason he had not grown physically and stayed small and weak. When Tracy and Matthew left their situation, they had to give up their friends, even their family to start a new life. In 2015, their new life began; albeit with still continued interference. It was a long road to starting over. But with his mother by his side, the burgeoning young author, Matthew, began his next adventure. ​ Matthew did not want to go to a day program for training and had difficulty finding a first job, even with the resources available to him. Instead, he decided he wanted to be self-employed. Mom had a career in voiceover and writing. She worked from home. It was doable. Mom worked with Matthew, exposing him to a variety of different kinds of media from audiobooks to print media and book production. His small library of drawing and film books and tools helped him get started. He even decided he could teach his mom film production. Matthew did more than write. He got involved with basketball and ice hockey. At about this time, not only did he grow taller and get stronger, but he blossomed with the help of a new male role model. Down the road, he put on a suit, got his haircut and walked his mother down the aisle toward wedded bliss. He gave her a kiss on the cheek and handed her off to his new father. ​ Mom credits Matthews’s success in life to exposure, persistence, and more exposure to new things that encourage him to learn. Tracy says, “Special needs parenting does not end.” ​ After going to school for 23 years Matthew discovered he’s truly interested in learning. He is a veritable sponge for knowledge. Matthew has a thirst for accomplishment and enjoys college classes. He still needs his mom’s help and will for some time, but he intends to live an independent life one day. He makes his mama proud. ​ In time, Matthew became a participant in the world’s largest special needs hockey tournament. The Valencia SNAP Flyers. With the help of donations and fundraisers, in March 2015 they were able to go to the city of Kanata, Canada where 76 special needs ice hockey teams from around the world assembled in one place. They played peacefully together. The farthest-away team came from Australia. Matthew’s team won most of their games played. ​ Years after Matthew was discarded by family members, he took college elective classes where his new passion became moviemaking. He also followed in his mom’s footsteps as a writer. Actually, Matthew single-handedly helped his mom get started with publishing her own books. Matthew’s mom, Tracy recalls, “Matthew used to come running into the room, “Mom, Mom, there is this website I found where you can publish books”. ​ Tracy now has 17 books and audiobooks on audible.com, eBooks, and in print. Matthew’s mom made it to number one—twice as #1 International Bestseller, in four countries and in six categories. And three of her books received awards; one being a bronze medal award. Tracy has been awarded two 2015 EIPPY medals, this October 2015. She has been on various radio shows, podcasts and interviews in magazines. ​ All of Tracy’s and Matthew’s books may be found on Amazon, iTunes, and Audible, Barnes and Noble, as well as other book sites. They may also be found on YouTube.com, and other websites including TracyElmanBooks.com and TracyElman.com Matthew’s website is AntsOnHalloween.com ​ Matthew has what he calls, “the writing fever.” He is currently working on his second book and third books. He has authored one book and illustrated two published books. He has one book available in audiobook, narrated professionally by his mom. He has been holding auditions for his next audiobook. Matthew has his own online store with about 500 products found on his website with designs he created and helped mom make her own. ​ If Matthew can do it, YOU can do it! Note: In summer, 2015, Matthew’s family felt it was time to make things legal. Matthew, and dad sported suits, looking dapper, and with mom and her camera, drove to the courthouse and an adult adoption succeeded. They became a supportive loving, nurturing, new family and a new beginning