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Paducah native shares insights on special needs children in book

BY LAUREL BLACK lblack@paducahsun.com

When Kerry Boudreaux looks at his daughter, Kate, he sees a 14-year-old who loves bowling, music and the movie "Frozen." He sees a girl who, unlike the others at her school dance, goes right up to the boys and breaks the ice.

What he doesn't see in Kate, or in any other child with special needs, is a diagnosis.

"That's how they were born. That's how God made them, so they are perfect," Boudreaux said.

Kate, the youngest of three daughters, was born with Down syndrome. Boudreaux said he and his wife Karen Roof Boudreaux, both Paducah natives, didn't handle the news the way many parents might. They saw Kate's condition as a gift, not a burden.

That's the perspective Boudreaux hopes to share in his new book, "Prism: Seeing the World Through the Hearts of People with Special Needs."

"I never wanted the book to be about Down syndrome. I always wanted the book to be about how wonderful of a life this can be and is," said Boudreaux, who now resides in Lexington.

The book was born from a writing prompt Boudreaux was given several years ago while collaborating with the University of Kentucky's Human Development Institute on a project called Brighter Tomorrows. He was told to write a 500-word reflection on his experiences raising Kate, but his narrative quickly exceeded the limit.

With the help of a mentor and the feedback from his family - including older daughters Kelsey and Kara - Boudreaux wrote the book in two years, releasing it on March 21. The resulting 135 pages are intended to be inspirational and entertaining, unlike many of the clinical and how-to books written on the subject.

"When you're in that situation, there's a lot of fear and anxiety," he said. "(The books) really don't have that warmth you're looking for."

Although he's always been in sales, Boudreaux doubts "Prism" will be his only book.

"I may have found a little hidden talent. I think there's more to come," he said.

"Prism" is available for purchase on Amazon, or by contacting Boudreaux directly at 859-229-7861. He can be reached via email at kerry.boudreaux@prismproject.net.

Contact Laurel Black, a Paducah Sun staff writer, at 270-575-8641, or follow @LaurelFBlack on Twitter.

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