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About Barb Cook
Sunshine Coast, Queensland, Australia
Barb Cook is a highly committed autistic advocate, writer, editor, and highly sought-after international speaker. She has made appearances on Australian radio and television, in newspapers and magazines, and in the SBS television documentary The Chameleons: Women with Autism.
Barb received a diagnosis of autism (Aspergers syndrome), ADHD and phonological dyslexia in 2009 at the age of 40. This really did give the statement of ‘life begins at 40’ a whole lot more depth and meaning to her — literally a new beginning of self-discovery, self-advocacy and personal empowerment.
Barb is Director and Founder of NeuroEmploy Pty Ltd, a company providing a variety of neurodiversity-specific educational and training programs for neurodivergent individuals, workplace staff, management and businesses.
Barb is editor-in-chief of Spectrum Women Magazine, a magazine she founded in 2016 that is a source of trusted and credible information for about one million readers worldwide. She is also an independent peer reviewer of the journal Autism in Adulthood, and is a published researcher in the areas of autism and mental health.
Her award-winning book, Spectrum Women: Walking to the Beat of Autism, covers insights of life for women/non-binary on the autistic spectrum and fills a gap between the personal and the professional. Her next book, The Autism and Neurodiversity Self-Advocacy Handbook will be released this year.
Barb is a registered Developmental Educator (DE) and an Autism and Neurodiversity Employment Consultant for neurodivergent adults focused on developing individualised learning strategies, tools and supports for individuals across the lifespan.
Barb is Deputy Chair of the Developmental Educators Australia Incorporated (DEAI); Vice Chair of the association My Life, My Decisions Inc.; and is a committee member of a number of projects and councils related to Aspergers and autism. She completed a Master of Autism (Education) at the University of Wollongong (Australia) in the areas of education and employment.
Barb currently rides a Suzuki V-Strom DL1000 motorcycle called Ron ‘Strom’ Burgundy and he is one of the major loves of Barb’s life. Her motorcycle keeps her anxiety and depression levels in check by taking her out on adventurous rides around the countryside.
• 2021 Winner of the Leadership Support Award - Neurodiversity Academy. In recognition of supporting Neurodiversity inclusive environments and economic prosperity.
• 2021Winner Aspect National Recognition Awards: A Different Brilliant Award.
• Keynote for “A Woman’s Voice: Understanding Autistic Needs” for the National Institute of Mental Health (NIHM) in Washington DC, USA in 2019.
• Speaker, World Autism Organisation Congress 2018 in Houston, Texas
• The 2018 Community Engagement Grant for Facilitating the voice and self-determination of young adults on the autism spectrum
• Special Commendation in the 2017 Autism Queensland Creative Futures Awards by the Queensland Governor
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Barb Cook and 14 other autistic women describe life from a female autistic perspective, and present empowering, helpful and supportive insights from their personal experience for fellow autistic women. Michelle Garnett's comments validate and expand the experiences described from a clinician's perspective, and provide extensive recommendations.
Autistic advocates including Liane Holliday Willey, Anita Lesko, Jeanette Purkis, Artemisia and Samantha Craft offer their personal guidance on significant issues that particularly affect women, as well as those that are more general to autism. Contributors cover issues including growing up, identity, diversity, parenting, independence and self-care amongst many others. With great contributions from exceptional women, this is a truly well-rounded collection of knowledge and sage advice for any woman with autism.
Being autistic, you might come across more challenges than others around you, such as dealing with ableism, discrimination in employment or difficulties in your relationships. Learning to successfully self-advocate will help you to build confidence, strengthen your relationships and ensure your needs are met.
Written by two autistic activists, this book will give you the tools and strategies to advocate for yourself in any situation. It covers specific scenarios including work, school, and family and relationships, as well as looking at advocacy for the wider community, whether that's through social media, presentations or writing. Additionally, the book provides advice on building independence, developing your skills, standing up for others and resolving conflict.
The authors also explore the overall impact of self-advocacy in all areas of your life, building a sense of confidence, resilience and control. Drawing on the authors' extensive experience, this book will help you to successfully prioritise your needs and rights, challenge what is unfair or unjust and make your voice heard.