About Barb Cook
Barb Cook - Editor in Chief Formally identified on the autism spectrum along with ADHD and phonological dyslexia in 2009 at the age of 40, Barb is founder and editor in chief of Spectrum Women Magazine and editor and co-author of Spectrum Women: Walking to the Beat of Autism, published by Jessica Kingsley Publishers. Barb is a highly committed 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. She is co-founder of Bikers for Autism Australia, Community Council Member of AASET (Autistic Adults and other Stakeholders Engaged Together) and an independent autistic peer reviewer of the journal Autism in Adulthood. Recently Barb was awarded a Special Commendation in the 2017 Autism Queensland Creative Futures Awards by the Queensland Governor, his Excellency Paul De Jersey. Barb has completed a Master of Autism (Education) at the University of Wollongong (Australia) with a focus in employment. She is a Developmental Educator providing consulting, mentoring and life coaching services at the Minds & Hearts Clinic in Brisbane and workshops, webinars and presentations for the neurodiverse community. Barb was recently awarded the University of Wollongong Community Engagement Grant as part of and Community of Practice Lead for a research project "Facilitating the voice and self-determination of young adults on the autism spectrum. Barb currently rides a Suzuki V-Strom DL1000 called Ron ‘Strom’ Burgundy and implements a combination of her passion for motorcycling with her dedication in advocacy, creating acceptance and pushing for action to improve the lives for women and girls, increasing opportunities for employment for all and supporting the neurodiverse community in attaining meaningful and fulfilling futures.
Special Feature

Meet the Spectrum Women Book Authors: Barb Cook

August 21, 2018 Barb Cook

The Spectrum Women and authors of this book, Spectrum Women: Walking to the Beat of Autism, felt it would be a great opportunity to tell you a little about ourselves and the reasons why we were part of this incredible project. Each Spectrum Woman has a unique story to tell and today, on the day the book has been released to the world,  we would like to introduce you to Barb Cook…   Today our book was released to the world, being transported by postmen on bikes, carried in vans, on trucks, via boat and carried by planes across the […]

Advocacy

Barb Cook on the Autism Gender Gap, Being a Chameleon and Finding Your Tribe

May 2, 2018 Barb Cook

Barb Cook is founder and editor in chief of the international publication Spectrum Women Magazine, co-founder and director of the Australian Autism Aspergers Network Inc., and founder of Bikers for Autism Australia. Barb is a passionate autism advocate, keen motorcyclist with a love for visual arts. Barb has been recognised nationally and internationally for her work spanning from her original publication the Autism Aspergers Network Magazine. Today Nick McAllister from Autism West catches up with Barb for an exclusive interview. You were diagnosed as being autistic at the age of 40, is that unusual to have such a late diagnosis? Getting a diagnosis […]

Featured

THE TOP TEN THINGS PARENTS SHOULD KNOW ABOUT GIRLS ON THE SPECTRUM

March 8, 2018 Barb Cook

Feature photo: Becca Lory with her mom ©Becca Lory 2018 A Spectrum Women collaboration, edited by Maura Campbell In honour of International Women’s Day, the Spectrum Women writers have compiled a list of things we think it’s particularly important for parents or carers of girls on the autism spectrum to know. 1. Recognise how autism presents differently in girls In adult studies, the 4:1 male/female ratio in autism diagnosis disappears. This means autistic girls are not rare. Persist when they say so. Look for intensity and insistence on sameness. Many of our behaviours are quite typical but we won’t choose to […]

Featured

Why are they so mean? — Barb Cook

November 14, 2017 Barb Cook

The words, “Why are they so mean?” has constantly rolled around in my mind, haunting me on and off for a lifetime. A recent encounter, hearing that very same statement from a young soul, tugged at my very core. Why indeed are people at times so mean? Why do they hurt us without a moment’s thought for the consequence that befalls another? How can they laugh and smile while you are fighting back the tears at being shunned, called names or made to feel inferior, less than? It never really made any sense, nor could I find the answers, at […]

Arts

Meaning of Life—an over-thinker’s guide to the universe by Barb Cook

October 2, 2017 Barb Cook

I have elevated over-thinking to an art form. Ever since I was a small girl, I often wondered what life meant, right down to the atom level of existence. I have always felt compelled to believe that there was some higher meaning or bigger picture to this existence on planet earth and I want to know why, in detail, from every aspect and angle. In my pre-autistically identified younger days, I was often found lost in my head. The world inside often gave me a source of wonderment as well as a place to try and analyse all that I […]

My Life

My Safe Space – Barb Cook

July 28, 2017 Barb Cook

Putting on my big black motorcycle jacket, boots and helmet makes me feel safe. I have an armour protecting me from the outside world that I don’t want to let in… but only for a while. I need this time away, so sorry, I am not letting you in behind this barrier…. this time is for me and me alone. I need this time; this space is for me, just me, so I can find my way back into the world with a mind that has unscrambled itself. When the world around me gets too loud, too bright, too confusing […]

Featured

Spectrumly Speaking Episode 13 – Autism Advocacy in Australia, with Barb Cook of Spectrum Women Magazine

June 28, 2017 Barb Cook

(28 mins) In this episode, hosts Katherine Cody, Psy.D. and Becca Lory, CAS, BCCS speak with Barb Cook. Barb was diagnosed with Aspergers syndrome in 2009 and is Founder and Editor in Chief of Spectrum Women Magazine. She is a highly committed Autism/Aspergers advocate, keen motorcyclist and web/graphics guru. Barb has made numerous appearances on Australian television and radio, in national newspapers and magazines, was part of a documentary The Chameleons: Women with Autism. She is also the Founder and Director of Bikers for Autism Australia and Co-Founder/Director of the Australian Autism Aspergers Network Inc. Barb discusses her personal diagnosis, the autism gender gap in […]

Latest News

Autistic Pride: Be Unashamedly You ~ Barb Cook

June 18, 2017 Barb Cook

I believe in myself… finally. It hasn’t always been this way. Life was this strange existence that I could never quite figure a way to get through. Well, that was to the outside world. Life in my own world made perfect sense — especially as a young girl — but that changed as the years went by and self-doubt began to creep in. I have blundered my way through most of my life until I learnt about the autism spectrum in 2008 that lead to a diagnosis in 2009. That day, March 3rd was the best day of my life. […]

Featured

Why I Write… A Spectrum Women Collaboration

June 12, 2017 Barb Cook

Inspired by “Why I Ride”, Barb Cook’s love letter to motorcycling published in Spectrum Women in October 2016, some of the Spectrum Women Writing Team have decided to share their thoughts on their shared passion for writing… Jeanette Purkis I am Autistic and also have schizophrenia. I often joke that it was pretty much guaranteed I would end up being a writer with those two diagnoses and the creativity which so often comes along with them. I started writing young. I got to read out my poetry at school assemblies from about the age of eight. High school English was […]

Featured

Why I Ride…. In the Beginning…. Barb Cook

October 17, 2016 Barb Cook

Peering over the fence, I could see a couple of teenage girls firing up their road trail bikes…. I thought they were the coolest chicks on earth. I was 15 years old then, and never before had a second thought about motorbikes… until that day. Kitted up in their bike gear, the rev of the engines as they started them, completely captured me. I was hooked there and then in an instant. At this point in my life I didn’t know I was Aspie. All I knew is that I didn’t fit in. I got teased for the fluoro green […]

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