Barb Cook Developmental Educator NeuroDiversity Hub Australia
Barb Cook Developmental Educator NeuroDiversity Hub Australia

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 Australasian Integrative Medicine Association (AIMA), and takes a holistic approach in improving the health and wellbeing of neurodivergent people. Barb predominantly works with adults and has an intense interest in neurodivergent 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 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.

What is a Developmental Educator?

Developmental educators are qualified professionals who specialise in working with people with disability using a human rights framework to achieve full and effective inclusion and participation in society. Developmental educators consider the whole person and their sociocultural context. Practice centres on the lived experience, needs, goals and aspirations of people with disability.

Developmental educators collaborate with people with disability to promote inclusion and address attitudinal and environmental barriers. They do so by employing a range of professional and technical skills including applying developmental, behavioural, learning and social theories; assessing the person and their environment; collaborative planning and goal setting; teaching skills through evidence based instructional strategies; supporting life transitions; programming, monitoring and evaluation; advocacy; community education; and capacity building.

Source: https://www.deai.com.au/about/what-is-a-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:

  • 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.

Barb also conducts BRIEF Autism & ADHD Assessments due to her extended training and experience.

What is Integrative Medicine

Integrative medicine is a philosophy of healthcare with a focus on individual patient care.  It combines the best of conventional western medicine with evidence-based complementary medicine and therapies.

Integrative Medicine reaffirms the importance of the relationship between practitioner and patient, focuses on the whole person, is informed by evidence, and makes use of all appropriate therapeutic approaches, health care professionals and disciplines to achieve optimal health and healing.

It takes into account the physical, psychological, social and spiritual wellbeing of the person with the aim of using the most appropriate, safe and evidence-based treatments available.

For further information on best practice in integrative medicine you can click here to view an article published in 2014 in the AIMA journal, Advances in Integrative Medicine, Copyright for this article is resides with Elsevier.

As an Integrative Nutritionist Barb focuses on taking a holistic view to physical and mental health and wellbeing with an individualised approach to each person’s unique needs and supports. Barb provides consultations and assessments in relation to nutrition, nutrigenomics, nutrigenetics and your individual DNA.

  • Certified DNA Life Practitioner
  • Functional Medicine Testing
  • Allergy Testing
  • DNA testing in relation to nutrition and environment
  • Prescribe Practitioner Only Supplements
  • Meal planning 
  • Problems-solving sensory differences and limited nutritional sources
  • Impact of executive functioning overwhelm
  • Meal preparation
  • Neuro-affirming and person-centred approach

Barb is currently on the Executive Committee Board of the Australasian Integrative Medicine Association (AIMA).

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 Women 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.
 

Barb was recently 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