About

Who is Barb Cook?

Barb Cook M.Aut.(Edu), Dip.HSc.(Nut)

Registered Developmental Educator and Integrative Nutritionist

Director & Founder – NeuroDiversity Hub, Neurotrition, Spectrum Women Magazine

Barb is the founder of the Neurodiversity Hub providing allied health services for neurodivergent people, including one-on-one support, therapeutic groups, and workshops and presentations.

She is a registered Developmental Educator, past Deputy Chair of the Developmental Educators Australia Incorporated (DEAI), an Integrative Nutritionist and current Executive Board Member of the Australian Integrative Medicine Association (AIMA), who takes a holistic approach in improving the health and wellbeing of neurodivergent people. Barb predominantly works with adults and has an intense interest in autistic/ADHD women, menopause, ageing, nutrition, nutrigenetics/nutrigenomics, Autism, ADHD, Parkinson’s Disease and neurodegenerative diseases. 

Barb holds a Master of Autism degree from the University of Wollongong where she was also a researcher and co-project lead in the area of self-determination and self-advocacy for adults on the autism spectrum. Barb also holds a Diploma in Health Science (Nutrition) and is currently completing her Master of Human Nutrition through Deakin University. 

Barb is currently engaged in research projects in the USA with her recent project investigating menopause and aging in autistic people. Barb has a strong interest and holistic approach in working with autistic/ADHD women in midlife and ageing.

Barb identifies as neurodivergent, being formally diagnosed mid-life with ADHD, Autism and dyslexia in 2009, and promotes a strength-based and person-centred approach in her life and work.

A passionate motorcyclist, she enjoys riding the love of her life, Ron Strom Burgundy, a Suzuki VStrom DL1000, who assists her with good self-care and effective anxiety-reducing and depression busting practice. Recently Barb took up roller skating after a 34 year break and is loving skating with people of all ages and it makes her feel young and active.

In 2022 Barb adopted a rescue Australia Red Cattle dog named Willow who certainly challenges her everyday with her intelligence and cheeky attitude but is the best love and cuddle bug you could ever have! 

Developmental Educator

As a Developmental Educator, Barb focuses on developing individualised learning strategies, tools and supports with positive outcomes for neurodivergent individuals across the lifespan, including but not limited to:

  • BRIEF Autism & ADHD Assessments
  • Environmental audits/assessments
  • Comprehensive Adaptive Behaviour Assessment & NDIS Functional Capacity Assessment (FCA) & Reports
  • Assessments & Reports for NDIS (Vineland 3, WHODAS 2.0, LSP-16)
  • Sensory profile Assessment & Reports
  • Adult ADHD Coaching
  • Executive Functioning Coaching
  • 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
  • Employment/Workplace Support 
  • Workplace mediation
  • Staff/workplace training – autism, neurodiversity
  • Transition Support – e.g. school to higher education, education to employment
  • Developing independent living skills
  • Enhancing Quality of Life (QoL) and community participation

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.

To make an appointment with Barb, please click HERE.

Qualifications/Registrations

  • Master of Autism (Education) – University of Wollongong
  • Master of Human Nutrition (student Deakin University)
  • Diploma of Health Science (Nutrition) – Australian College of Natural Therapies
  • Certificate III Medical Business Administration – Medical Administration Training
  • Certificate Genetics of Health – DNA Life Practitioner fxMED

First Aid Training

  • HLTAID009 Provide cardiopulmonary resuscitation
  • HLTAID010 Provide basic emergency life support
  • HLTAID011 Provide First Aid

Memberships

  • Registered Developmental Educator #524
  • Past Deputy Chair Developmental Educators Australia Inc. (DEAI)
  • Registered NDIS Specialist (Level 4) Positive Behaviour Support Practitioner
  • Executive Board Member – Australian Integrative Medicine Association (AIMA)
  • Professional Member – Australian Integrative Medicine Association (AIMA)
  • Certified DNA Life Practitioner – Nutrigenomics/Nutrigenetics
  • Full Member – Nutrition Australia 
  • Professional Member – Blue Knot Foundation, National Centre of Excellence for Complex Trauma
Published Research
Listening to the autistic voice: Mental health priorities to guide research and practice in autism from a stakeholder-driven project. Teal W Benevides, Stephen Shore, May-Lynn Andresen, Barb Cook, Steven S. Coughlin, Dena L Gassner, Becca Lory Hector, and Lisa Morgan. Sage Journals: Autism doi.org/10.1177/1362361320908410   https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/full/10.1177/1362361320908410
 
Interventions to address health outcomes among autistic adults: A systematic review. Teal W. Benevides, Stephen Shore, May-Lynn Andresen, Reid Caplan, Barb Cook, Dena L Gassner, Jasmine M Erves, Taylor M Hazlewood, M Caroline King, Lisa Morgan, Lauren E Murphy, Yenn Purkis, Brigid Rankowski, Sarah M Rutledge, Savannah P Welch, Karl Wittig. Sage Journals: Autism.  doi.org/10.1177/1362361320913664  https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/full/10.1177/1362361320913664
 

Barb’s Experience

Barb has extensive professional training, clinical supervision and clinical experience in the areas of autism and ADHD in adults. Barb works alongside leading world authorities on autism, Professor Tony Attwood and Dr Michelle Garnett, and co-created and co-delivers the Masterclass on Diagnosis and Intervention of Autism for Girls and W

omen for health professionals and educators. She has extensively worked alongside a variety of clinical psychologists, including working at the Minds and Hearts Clinic in Brisbane which specialises in autism. Barb works extensively in academic research, with published research papers on autism and mental health. Also, she has been engaged in casual part-time teaching in the Master of Autism (education) post-graduate degree program.

Barb is registered with the following professional associations with her relevant specialised degree qualifications and specialist assessment training to conduct clinical assessments:

Recognition for Barb

Barb is the founder of Spectrum Women Magazine and is internationally recognised for her bestselling book on autism in women, Spectrum Women: Walking to the Beat of Autism with Dr Michelle Garnett, filling the gap in literature between lived experience of autistic women and the clinical knowledge. Barb’s second best-selling book co-authored with Yenn Purkis, The Autism and Neurodiversity Self-Advocacy Handbook: Developing Skills to Determine Your Own Future, is an essential guidebook that gives you the tools and strategies to advocate for yourself in any situation, developing your skills in standing up for yourself, your needs and wishes. Barb’s recently released third book, Planning Your Career Through Intense Interests: A Guide for Autistic People, provides valuable insights for young adults in pursing their career pathways. 
 
Barb is a highly sought after international speaker and presents on a variety of topics related to autism, ADHD and Neurodiversity. Barb spoke at the World Autism Organisation Congress 2018 in Houston Texas and 2019, keynoted for a special event “A Woman’s Voice: Understanding Autistic Needs” for the National Institute of Mental Health (NIHM) in Washington DC, USA.
 

In 2021 Barb was awarded the “A Different Brilliant” award at the Aspect National Recognition Awards in Sydney and the Leadership Support Award from the Neurodiversity Academy. In 2017 she received a Special Commendation from Queensland’s Governor, his Excellency, Paul De Jersey for the Autism Queensland Creative Futures Awards.

For more information on Barb and her extensive work click HERE