With two teenage sons on the autism spectrum Brad and Jennifer Ratcliffe know the impact it has daily for other families in a similar situation.
When Mrs Ratcliffe was convinced to write a book on the subject a couple of years ago, by other people who saw how helpful she was in sharing what she had learned herself, it started a new chapter in her life.
She discovered she had a real gift in conveying what she knew. After the release of that guide for parents and carers called This Was Not On The Brochure her husband Brad used his technical and creative skills to develop a practical hands-on resource in the form of an app called First and Then.
While they had helped each other on both projects they decided to team up as co-authors of a second book published on Monday.
Mr and Mrs Ratcliffe think Keeping It Real will be a global how-to-guide for families. They were hoping to have the printed version out in time for World Autism Awareness Month in April. So the release of the paperback version this week is cause for celebration as they begin work on another helpful book about autism for release in 2018.
Mrs Ratcliffe said it was the kind of resource they wished they could have read 14 years ago when their sons Cameron and Coby were diagnosed on the autism spectrum.
“Our book is filled with our real-life stories, practical ideas and tips for families living with autism to use in everyday experiences,” she said.
“Our aim is to help families to know they are not alone and to give them hope. We have tried to keep it relatable. We want to help people and give them hope for the future so they know they can live a great life. We even talk about how we took the boys last year to Disneyland. When they were first diagnosed there was no way we could have done that. We could hardly go to the shops. It was just literally so hard to do anything”.
Mr Ratcliffe said by co-authoring a book they could show the different ways they worked together as couple supporting their children. The book allows other parents to look up a topic or read the whole book. The official launch is at The Woolshed on May 10.
Mrs Ratcliffe is also the president of Care & Share for Autism.
Following their success of their first book and app the couple launched an innovatve business called Ratpack Creations.