Who is Barb Cook…
Barb Cook, M.Aut. – Master of Autism (Education)
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.
How often do we hear ourselves saying “I just need to finish this job and then I can take a break”, or “If I can get this project finished, I can then take a couple of days off”? When we tell ourselves this over and over again, without taking action to ‘look after ourselves’, the
Autistic people are confronted with an array of barriers in many situations throughout their life. These situations centralise around what general society expects of all people, a one size fits all model, without the distinct consideration of disability, difference and inclusion. With the added individual challenges of effective communication skills, lack of self-advocacy and self-determination
Workplace social skills. These words strike fear into the soul of any autistic person. I know this, because I am one of those people. I’ve had a tumultuous employment past, prior to my official diagnosis of Asperger syndrome (autism), ADHD and dyslexia in 2009. I never truly understood the “workplace social skills”, even though I
It’s Never too Early to Start: Planning Employment Futures with Autistic and Neurodivergent People by Barb Cook, M.Aut.
Opinion piece. The employment world can be a difficult one to navigate for most people, let alone for autistic and neurodivergent people. The employment journey starts way before getting a job. Society is led to believe that from a young age we need to get a good education, strive for a well-paid job, earn money
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
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