Portfolio

Barb Cook’s achievements and accomplishments span a wide and lengthy array in supporting neurodivergent individuals.

2020

22 October – Book endorsement for All Cats are on the Autism Spectrum – Kathy Hoopmann, Jessica Kingsley Publishers. https://www.jkp.com/aus/all-cats-are-on-the-autism-spectrum-2.html

22 September – Autism Explained Summit. Presentation: Mid-life and up: Planning for the Future. https://autism-explained.teachable.com/p/2020-online-summit-free

10 September – Co-design committee member. Aspergers Victoria – World of Work: Work Experience Pathways Project. https://aspergersvic.org.au/Employment

21 August – Book foreword. Spectrum Women: Autism and Parenting. Jessica Kingsley Publishers. https://www.jkp.com/aus/spectrum-women-autism-and-parenting-2.html

29 June – Textbook: A Spectrum of Solutions for Clients with Autism: Treatment for Adolescents and Adults. Eds. Dr Rachel Bedard & Dr Lorna Hecker. Publisher: Routledge Press. UK. Chapter 20: Working Together: Empowering the Autistic Voice. 

20 June –  Online Interview with Paul Micallef, Aspergers on the Inside. 7 Signs of Autism in women (DSM-5 Symptoms of Autism/Aspergers in Autistic Adults). https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HfalX7DJbdk

27 May – Advisory board member. Project Autism What Next. – Autism Awareness Australia. https://autismwhatnext.com.au/ 

19 May – Academic paper:  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

11 May – Academic paper: 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

2 May –  University of Wollongong, NSW. Online Presentation. Evidence-based Practice in Employment.

30 April – Aspergers Victoria Online Educational Event. Presentation & Q & A: World of Work: Socialising & Executive Functioning.

18 April – Webinar with Barb Cook & Yenn Purkis. Relationships and the Autism Spectrum. Recording available at: https://vimeo.com/ondemand/autismrelationships/409160818

10 March – Vice President, My Life My Decisions Inc. Not for profit organisation. https://mylifemydecisions.org/

15 March – Book endorsement for The Spectrum Girl’s Survival Guide – Siena Castellon. Jessica Kingsley Publishers. https://www.jkp.com/aus/spectrum-women-autism-and-parenting-2.html

Webinar Series:

Education to Employment: Preparing for Work. 90 minutes. Leaving school/uni and heading into work is one of the most important transitions experienced in life. It is one that requires considerable preparation and planning to ensure success in gaining meaningful employment. This webinar will explore a person-centered and collaborative approach in identifying career pathways, goal setting, vision planning, identifying strengths, self-advocacy and self-determination, identifying supports and accommodations, that will help young people with ADHD, Autism, Dyslexia and Dyspraxia in attaining and achieving their employment vision.

Webinar: Being the Executive of Functioning: Harnessing the Power of Your Brain. 90 minutes. Recording available at: https://vimeo.com/ondemand/executivefunction/418326751 Executive Functioning (EF) ability covers many skills. People who experience executive dysfunction often have more trouble with attention, working memory, mental processing, and verbal fluency. These are all called executive-function abilities that are important at school, uni, the workplace and home life.

You may have executive dysfunction if you experience difficulty with:
• Managing time
• Getting and staying organized
• Listening and paying attention
• Following directions
• Completing assignments/tasks
• Attending to details
• Getting to work on time
• Speaking just when it’s your turn
• Sitting still
• Keeping emotions under control
• Procrastination

This webinar will explore the challenges experienced, investigate why the brain behaves the way it does and discuss strategies and tools that will become part of your EF toolkit, enabling you to be the executive of functioning.

Webinar: Workplace Social Skills for People on the Autism Spectrum. 90 minutes. Recording available at: https://vimeo.com/ondemand/worksocialskills/421341363 Effective workplace social skills are considered as an essential skill to maintaining a happy working relationship with co-workers, supervisors and employers. Many of these skills place value in small talk, eye contact, body language, socialising, being confident, and being yourself. This places enormous stress upon people on the autism spectrum, leaving them feeling confused, challenged and anxious at having to navigate the workplace social nuances, that often results in alienation, misunderstandings and potential job loss.

This webinar provides valuable insights, tools and strategies on how to navigate the workplace social expectations, implement inclusive practices and adopt collaborative approaches for autistic and neurodivergent people, co-workers, workplace supervisors and management, employers, employment agencies, parents, teachers and support staff.

Webinar: Mastering Self-Determination & Self-Advocacy. 90 minutes. Recording Available at:  https://vimeo.com/ondemand/selfadvocacy/427612639 Neurodivergent people often experience challenges in exercising skills associated with self-determination and self-advocacy, being pinnacle life skills that drive their success in education, employment, independence and within society. With the right supports, tools and strategies, they can develop high levels of self-determination, providing a firm sense of self-confidence. Working together as a community, as parents, partners, caregivers, health professionals, educators and employers, we can be part of the process in guiding, building and supporting them in attaining these skills and empowering them in determining a future that is directed by their visions, dreams and goals for their future.

Webinar: Sensory Management: Identifying Stressors in the Workplace. 90 minutes. Recording available at: https://vimeo.com/ondemand/sensorymanagement/422653636 Neurodivergent people often experience difficulty with processing sensory information, either being hypersensitive or hyposensitive. In the workplace, many sensory factors can negatively impact on individuals’ work performance and contribute to increased levels of stress, anxiety and mental overwhelm. Being subjected to sensory assault on a regular basis can also impact wellbeing through physical pain, leading to changes in behaviour, withdrawal or meltdown.

This webinar will explore the potential causes and sources of sensory assault in the workplace, how to make workplace modifications and what supports can assist the individual in reducing their sensory overwhelm. This webinar will also investigate how employers can improve workplace design cost effectively, providing sensory friendly working conditions for all employees.

Webinar: Self-Care: Putting Your First. 90 minutes. Self-care is critical in maintaining good mental health and physical wellbeing, but is also one of the hardest things to implement into our daily lives. Neurodivergent people often experience higher rates of anxiety and depression, along with high levels of stress and burnout. By the time they hit their 30s and 40s, many neurodivergent people are exhausted, struggling to stay employed, have broken relationships and friendships, along with the emergence of associated chronic disease and health problems.

Causes of long-term negative health impacts can be from:
• Negative self-talk
• Overthinking & catastrophising
• Working excessively, never saying no
• Working in toxic environments
• Being under or unemployed – financial stress
• Being people pleasers
• Masking – trying to fit in, be the chameleon
• Not being mindful of how their body feels – introception
• Not seeking medical help, thinking they will be ok
• Poor diet and exercise
• Not taking holidays or downtime
• Not putting themselves first

This webinar will explore good self-care strategies, how and when to implement them into daily life, how to identify when we are not feeling our best, when to say no and how ask for support.

6 January – Director of NeuroEmploy Pty Ltd. Neurodivergent people.  Consulting & training for workplace staff & business. https://neuroemploy.com/

2019

7 September – Event: Navigating the Social World on the Autism Spectrum: Friendships, Romance & Bullying.Presentation topic: Positive Relationships on the Autism Spectrum. University of Wollongong, NSW.

16 August – Day Workshop. Empowerment on the Autism Spectrum Workshop. Joint workshop with Yenn Purkis. Penrith RSL, NSW

27 July – ABC Breakfast 24 hours news. Barb Cook, Autism & Employment ABC 24 Hour News with Johanna Nicholson & Josh Szeps. 

31 May – Neurodiversity & Employment Symposium Keynote speaker. Topic: Harnessing the Power of ADHD: Being the Executive of Functioning. Brisbane, QLD

23 April – Washington DC, USA – IACC Interagency Autism Coordinating Committee – US Department of Health & Human Services. NIMH Special Event for Autism Awareness Month: A Woman’s Voice: Understanding Autistic Needs. Opening keynote speaker and a panel participant with Liane Holliday Willey, Jennifer O’Toole and Dena Gassner. Speaking on autistic women’s needs on a variety of topics. 

8 March – NDIS International Women’s Day Event, Rockhampton, QLD Panel discussion: issues facing local women with disability.

19 February – Moderator for international best-selling author Graeme Simsion and Professor Tony Attwood, The Rosie Result book launch, Brisbane Powerhouse. 

4 January – The Independent Newspaper (UK) Spectrum Women Walking to the Beat of Autism – Number 1 book on autism, INDY/BEST BUY 

2018

22 November – Autism and Gender Workshop, Gympie Qld. Four-hour joint presentation with Nelle Frances.

14 November – World Autism Organisation Congress 2018 (WAO2018) Houston, Texas. Presentation with Becca Lory. Pedals and Paws: Creating Strength Based Supports in Adulthood from Special Interests/Enthusiasms.

13 November – Association of University Centers on Disabilities – AUCD 2018: We All Belong Here. AASET panel discussion. Washington DC.

3 October – 2018 Community Engagement Grant, University of Wollongong. Project: Facilitating the voice and self-determination of young adults on the autism spectrum. 

10 September – Jessica Kingsley Publishers Blog: An introduction into the internationally acclaimed book, Spectrum Women: Walking to the Beat of Autism.

30 August – Presentation at ASPECT Autism in Education Conference: The Personal Empowerment of Goal Setting for Autistic Learners Within Inclusive Learning Environments

21 August – Spectrum Women: Walking to the Beat of Autism book is released.  Jessica Kingsley Publishers ISBN 9781785924347 pp336

30 June – One-hour presentation at the University of Wollongong: Understanding Gender Differences in Employment for Individuals on the Autism Spectrum 

6 June – The dark history of Hans Asperger emerges, the doctor the disorder was named after — Mamamia

12 February – Manuscript completed for Spectrum Women — Walking to the Beat of Autism (Jessica Kingsley Publishers 2018)

2017

1 December: Autism Queensland Creative Futures Recognition Awards with the Governor Paul De Jersey at Government House Queensland – Awarded Special Commendation for Individual AchievementThe Governor’s Speech at the event, click here.

14 November: Article SWM: Why are they so mean?

3 & 4 November: Autism West Symposium – The Big Picture – 40 minute presentation on Living Independently within Society

2 October Article SWM: Meaning of Life—an over-thinker’s guide to the universe

15 August Interview Autism West: Barb Cook on the Autism Gender Gap, Being a Chameleon and Finding Your Tribe

2 August Article Autism West:  Autistic Pride: Be Unashamedly You – Barb Cook

28 July Article SWM: My Safe Space – Barb Cook

3 July: Signed book contract with Jessica Kingsley Publishers. Titled Spectrum Women

26 June: Interview with Becca Lory Spectrumly Speaking – A Different Brains Podcast: Autism Advocacy in Australia, with Barb Cook of Spectrum Women Magazine | Spectrumly Speaking ep. 13

13 June Article SWM: Why I Write… A Spectrum Women Collaboration

27 May: Podcast interview with Jeanette Purkis for Positively Autistic Jeanette’s Autism Show

23 May: AASET – Autistic Adults and other Stakeholders Engaged Together –Community Council Member

2 March: Interview Lisa Morgan Author: Living Through Suicide Loss – A Conversation with Author Lisa Morgan

2016

17 October: Article SWM: Why I Ride…. In the Beginning…. Aspie Biker Chick

1 September: Interviewed Michelle Vines Author: Asperger’s on the Inside – A Candid Interview with Author Michelle Vines

20 June: Spectrum Women Magazine: Official launch

30 May: Australian Ambassador for the International Aspergirl Society: Founded and presided over by Atremisia (formerly Rudy Simone), author, singer and songwriter

2015

30 August: Inaugural Bikers for Autism Australia Charity Ride Sunshine Coast Qld: Beneficiary the Wemyss Family $600 raised

28 August: Motorbike Writer Article: Bikers for Autism ride for struggling family 

21 May: ABC Sunshine Coast Radio Interview with Annie Gaffney: Discussion on Women with Autism

5 May: SBS Mini Documentary The Chameleons: Women with Autism: We often hear about autism in men, but rarely in women. The Feed (SBS) looks at three different generations of women living with autism and how the stigma of the condition is amplified by gender.

2014

1 October 2014 ANCA Awards: Naturally Autistic People’s Award. Community Achievement Award 3rd place.

3 April: Aspect National Recognition Awards Sydney: Finalist in two categories.

16 March: 30+ regional Australian newspapers: Article – For Barb, Autism is now a career

18 February: 98five Sonshine FM Radio: Talking about International Aspergers Day

January edition Autism Aspergers Network Magazine: View online version here.

2013

10 December: Channel 10 Wake Up Breakfast Show. Discussion on Aspergers Syndrome, Susan Boyle and later in life diagnosis with Barb Cook and the Channel Ten Wake Up team. 

16 October: Australian Women’s Weekly: Article – I was diagnosed with Autism at 40 

13 September: Autism Aspergers Network Magazine September edition: View online version here.

27 July: Pilot Promo Video for Caring 4 ASDBarb Cook was part of a pilot video promoting a new organisation including Dick Smith

25 May: Symposium Panel Member – Aspergers and the Autism Spectrum: Panel member of 5 at a Wellbeing Expo to a large crowd. First live speaking event.

30 April: Channel 7 Local News: Covering the release of the new Australian Autism Aspergers Network magazine.

25 April: Noosa Today Paper: Magazine is an Australian First

18 April: Skype Interview with Craig Evans USA – Autism Hangout

13 April: Radio Interview with Beck Kelly – Real People Talk Autism Phoenix FM Bendigo

27 March: Australian Autism Aspergers Network Magazine Launched: Print and online version. 96 pages. View online publication here.

2012

22 November: Founded Bikers for Autism Australia

22 November: Co-founded the Australian Autism Aspergers Network Inc.: Registered not for profit charity supporting individual and families on the Autism Spectrum.

2009

1 September: Co-founded the Sunshine Coast Autism Aspergers Network

3 March: Official Diagnosis of Asperger syndrome