About

Who is Barb Cook?

Formally identified on the autism spectrum along with ADHD and phonological dyslexia in 2009 at the age of 40, it really did give the statement ‘life begins at 40’ a whole lot more depth and meaning.

For me it was literally a whole new beginning and set my life on a path of self-discovery, self-advocacy and personal empowerment.

Today I am a Developmental Educator (DE) and Autism and Neurodiversity Consultant for neurodivergent adults (autism, ADHD and dyslexia). As a Developmental Educator, I focus on developing individualised learning strategies, tools and supports with positive outcomes for individuals across the lifespan.

In 2016 I founded Spectrum Women Magazine. Nearing on a million unique readers per year, he magazine is a place where autistic women from around the globe can write about their experiences, feel validated in reading and recognising themselves in others; a need that so many had been without for far too long. As editor-in-chief, Spectrum Women Magazine is one of my passions and provides trustworthy, relevant and credible information and a platform for fellow autistic women to have a voice.

Inspired by the magazine, Spectrum Women: Walking to the Beat of Autism covers never before published insights of life for women on the autism spectrum. As editor and co-author together with 14 fellow autistic women, we bare our heart and souls to the reader, providing valuable information, validation, support and advice. Working together with Dr Michelle Garnett, clinical psychologist of over 20 years in autism spectrum conditions, makes this book a well-rounded publication that fills a large gap between the personal and the professional. This book is a must read for women of all ages, and will make you laugh, cry, feel validated, but most importantly, you will never feel alone again.

I am also the co-founder of Bikers for Autism Australia, and Community Council Member of AASET (Autistic Adults and other Stakeholders Engaged Together), which provides advice and input into the areas of research on autistic health. 

I’m a highly committed autism advocate, writer, speaker and keen motorcyclist, making a variety of appearances on Australian radio, television, in newspapers and magazines and the SBS television documentary, The Chameleons: Women with Autism

I am an independent autistic peer reviewer of the journal Autism in Adulthood, and have completed a Master of Autism (Education) at the University of Wollongong (Australia) in the areas of education and employment. I was jointly awarded the 2018 Community Engagement Grant for Facilitating the voice and self-determination of young adults on the autism spectrum, and am a university tutor in Positive Behaviour Support and assessment in the Master of Autism program.

I was awarded a Special Commendation in the 2017 Autism Queensland Creative Futures Awards by the Queensland Governor, his Excellency Paul De Jersey and spoke at the World Autism Organisation Congress 2018 in Houston Texas and more recently, keynoted for a special event “A Woman’s Voice: Understanding Autistic Needs” for the National Institute of Mental Health (NIHM) in Washington DC, USA.

Currently I ride a Suzuki V-Strom DL1000 called Ron ‘Strom’ Burgundy and he is most certainly one of the major loves of my life. He keeps my anxiety levels in check by taking me out on adventurous rides around the countryside. I implement the combination of my passion for motorcycling with my dedication in autism advocacy, in creating acceptance and pushing for action to improve the lives for neurodiverse individuals.

Professional Bio

Barb is a Developmental Educator (DE) and Autism and Neurodiversity Consultant for neurodivergent adults (autism, ADHD and dyslexia).

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.

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.

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.

Barb holds 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. She is also a full member of the Developmental Educators Australia Inc. (DEAI), and a registered service provider with the NDIS for plan and agency managed participants.

If you would like to engage with Barb in life coaching, business consulting, as a Development Educator, speaking events, writing articles, media time or feel she would be of help to you in some way, please email Barb via her contact page here for a personal discussion of your needs.