Who is Barb Cook…

Barb Cook, M.Aut.  –  Master of Autism (Education)

Developmental Educator

Barb is a Developmental Educator (DE) and Autism and Neurodiversity Consultant for neurodivergent adults (autism, ADHD and dyslexia). She is a full member of the Developmental Educators Australia Inc. (DEAI), and a registered service provider with the NDIS for plan and agency managed participants. Barb has a Master of Autism (Education) with focus on employment from the University of Wollongong, where she is also a tutor in this program and a research assistant in the area of self-determination and self-advocacy for adults on the autism spectrum.

In 2009, Barb was formally diagnosed on the autism spectrum along with ADHD and phonological dyslexia at age 40. She is editor and co-author of the internationally acclaimed book Spectrum Women: Walking to the Beat of Autism, and founder of Spectrum Women Magazine. Barb is an internationally recognised speaker and writer and was awarded a Special Commendation in the 2017 Autism Queensland Creative Futures Awards by the Queensland Governor.

In April 2019, Barb was keynote and a panel participant for a special event “A Woman’s Voice: Understanding Autistic Needs” for the National Institute of Mental Health (NIHM) in Washington DC, USA.

Barb’s most recent literary contribution, Working Together: Empowering the Autistic Voice, in an upcoming clinician’s textbook, Treatment on the Spectrum: Diverse Interventions for Adolescent and Adult Clients with Autism Spectrum Disorder, edited by Dr Rachel Bédard & Dr Lorna Hecker. Writing alongside Dr Temple Grandin on employment, Barb provides tools and strategies to clinicians on how to support autistic people in preparing for, and maintaining meaningful employment.

As a Developmental Educator, Barb focuses on developing individualised learning strategies, tools and supports with positive outcomes for individuals across the lifespan. Barb embraces a collaborative approach by working with health and educational professionals, support staff, employers, employees, families and caregivers to develop their skills, knowledge and understanding of a person-centred approach in fostering positive support and enhancement of life outcomes. Barb has extensive experience in working with people on the autism spectrum, ADHD and dyslexia, especially with adults in creating pathways in attaining life goals in the areas of education, employment, health and interpersonal relationships.

Services Barb provides:

  • Sensory profiling
  • Developing informative individual profiles
  • Individualised support plans (person-centred approach)
  • Goal and vision planning
  • Facilitating self-determination and self-advocacy
  • Establishing effective communication skills
  • Cultivating positive interpersonal skills
  • Transition Support – e.g. school to higher education, education to employment
  • Developing independent living skills
  • Enhancing Quality of Life (QoL) and community participation
  • Environmental audits/assessments
  • Positive Behaviour Support plans
  • Assessments (Vineland 3)

Barb has presented at a variety of events, both nationally and internationally and is available for tailored presentations, workshops, events and consultations. For more information, please contact Barb HERE.

The Blog…

It’s not all about IT… Breaking the stigma in employment choices for autistic & neurodivergent people by Barb Cook

Information and technology (IT) has boomed over the past 30 years and become an integral part of the modern developed world. Employment opportunities in IT exploded alongside this growth and created pathways for autistic people in finding job security in an industry that has been stigmatized as the place where the ‘geeks’ gravitate. Software giants

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Autistic Women in the Workplace by Barb Cook

Typically, autism is viewed as a male condition with stereotypical preconceptions that all autistics must, for instance, be mathematical savants and their career paths are in IT. Wrong. In this article I want to highlight some of the inaccurate perceptions of autistic people, in particularly women, look at the many benefits of employing autistic women

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8 best books about autism – Lydia Wilkins, The Independent Newspaper

Full article and reviews originally published here by the Independent Newspaper: 8 Best Book About Autism Spectrum Women Walking to the Beat of Autism – Number 1, INDY/BEST BUY Except, from the review: The original research surrounding Asperger’s syndrome and autism was largely based around men, leading to the initial diagnostic criteria. Asperger’s syndrome is

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Why I Write…

I am addicted to paper and pens. There… I have said it! The very first book I held within my tiny hands mesmerised my soul. I was completely in awe at the pictures of Ancient Egyptians that were laid before me. I was three at the time, and my brother so fondly remembers that I

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The Internationally Acclaimed Book

Spectrum Women​

Spectrum Women Walking to the Beat of Autism, in review…