About the Presenters
Barb Cook, M.Aut.(Ed), Dip.HSc.(Nut)
Developmental Educator, Integrative Nutritionist & Adult ADHD Coach
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 is a registered Developmental Educator, Adult ADHD Coach and Integrative Nutritionist, who is dedicated to improving the overall well-being and quality of life for neurodivergent people. Barb identifies a neurodivergent after being diagnosed mid-life (40) and after significant burnout in 2009 with autism, ADHD, and dyslexia.
Barb 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 recently released and 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 is founder of Spectrum Women Magazine and is a prolific writer on autism, ADHD and neurodivergence.
Barb is founder of the Neurodiversity Hub in Gympie Queensland, a space providing allied health services for neurodivergent people, including one-on-one support, therapeutic groups, workshops and presentations and an informal space to meet.
Barb is a highly sought-after international speaker and presents on a variety of topics related to women, autism, ADHD and Neurodiversity. Barb spoke at the World Autism Organisation Congress 2018 in Houston Texas and 2019, and was invited by the United States government to keynote a special event “A Woman’s Voice: Understanding Autistic Needs” for the National Institute of Mental Health (NIHM) in Washington DC, USA.
Barb is a passionate motorcyclist, and enjoys riding the love of her life, Ron Strom Burgundy, a Suzuki VStrom DL1000, who assists her with good self-care and an effective anxiety reducing and depression busting practice.
Sofia Neale, BBus(RskMtg), MAHRI
Sofia is the NeuroDiversity Management Consultant with NeuroEmploy specialising in consulting neurodiversity-specific educational and training programs and tailored consutling services for neurodivergent individuals, workplace staff, management, and businesses.
As an innovative, ambitious thought leader, Sofia advocates for economic participation and social inclusion. With her own lived experience, Sofia’s vision for the World of Work is for all community members to have meaningful engagement.
Priding herself on building solid and lasting working relationships, Sofia has worked across various industries, businesses and community organisations on NeuroDiversity Employment strategies and programs, including the Department of Education and VPS, events, and NeuroDiversity Training programs.
She has a strong and accomplished background in Finance, People and Culture at an Executive level and Board Member for a Charity. Her strengths are in strategy development and building strong teams fostered through the foundations of strength, collaboration, clear communication, and diversity.
Sofia has lived experience with Autism, ADHD and Chronic Mental Health and has recently gone through her own pathway of self discovery via a recent ADHD diagnosis. She loves supporting the neuordivergent adults and children in her family to navigate their way through their own pathways of self understanding and embracing strength with a view to finding their voice to self advocate and generate positive outcomes through those otherwise difficult discussions that don’t come naturally. Sofia is also a Young Adults PEERS® Certified Provider and Certified Mental Health First Aid who really enjoys combining her strong business background with her understanding of neurodiversity. Ultimately Sofia has a keen interest in just exercising kindness and respect and believes an empathy-based approach that leverages off building a strong circle of support, is the best way to improve systems, communication and reduce negative bias or misunderstanding with relation to Neurodiversity.