Tyler ISD always enjoys hearing student success stories after graduation. Especially success stories such as Paden Ferrell. A former student at Dixie Elementary School, Stewart Middle School and John Tyler High School, Paden is a 25 year old man who is on the autism spectrum. He is also a 25 year old man who is employed and has authored two books.
“I had Paden in fourth and fifth grade,” former teacher, Vicki Kyker, said. “When I first met him, Paden had some self-control issues. The first time I took him to the library, the librarian looked very worried. She and other teachers told me that Paden had run into their classrooms unsupervised and torn books or other students' work. Paden spent most of that first year attached to my right hand. By the end of the first year, teachers were asking if Paden was missing school. I assured them he was at school every day. They would smile and say that he must be doing better. I would smile and assure them that he was doing much better.”
When it was time for Paden to move on to middle school, Ms. Kyker remembers, “His mother laughed and said, ‘I guess you'll be glad to see him go.’ I assured her that I would prefer to keep him.”
After graduation, Paden began working on the assembly and label line at a medical supply company where his father, Kevin Ferrell, is an engineer. Although weekends were a great time to relax from the busy week, Mr. Ferrell says it was still important to keep Paden engaged in activities.
“We typically have books and various activities for Paden to do on the weekend,” Mr. Ferrell said. “My daughter and Paden’s sister, Paige, who is now teaching special education in Nicaragua, began suggesting to Paden that he start writing down the creative stories that he enjoyed telling us. After he completed about 20 stories, Paige suggested we publish them in a book.”
Into the Imagination holds 20 of Paden’s stories and illustrations. The book was self-published through BookPatch.com and turned into a big hit with Paden’s friends and family. So much so that Paige and Paden began planning for Volume 2.
“After Paden had enough stories for Into the Imagination: Volume 2, he really got into it and began pestering Paige about when she was going to get it out. He really got excited about what it all was about.”
“I am very proud of Paden and Paige,” Ms. Kyker said. “She was always so good with Paden. That is not always the case with siblings. The entire Ferrell family, including grandparents, aunts and uncles, are a great support system for one another and for our community.”
When Paden isn’t creating new stories for Into the Imagination: Volume 3, he enjoys video games, board games, watching cartoons and singing Karaoke.
For more information or to purchase Into the Imagination and Into the Imagination: Volume 2 go to https://www.thebookpatch.com/.