Barb Cook
Barb Cook

Leading advocate makes home in Gympie, opens CBD shopfront

One of the country's leading advocates on autism and neurodiversity will open a Neurodiversity Hub in Condies Arcade in May.

Barb Cook has lived in Gympie for the past two and a half years and his herself "neurodivergent".

She is a national and international speaker and writer on the subject, a published author, educator and consultant, developing individualised learning strategies for those with autism and neurodiversity, and equipping them with the lifelong tools and support they need.

'All systems go, full steam ahead' for Easter on Mary

She is also a registered Developmental Educator and Autism and Neurodiversity Consultant for neurodivergent adults (autism, ADHD and dyslexia).

Activate your free Courier Mail subscription and you could win $20,000 cash

"I have done a lot of things, and very much a workaholic, where I am a published academic researcher, teach at the University of Wollongong (UOW) in the Master of Autism program, lead researcher on a current project at UOW on self-advocacy and self-determination for young adults on the autism spectrum, deputy chair of the Developmental Educators Australia Inc (the governing body for developmental educators), and recently have become the local Gympie coordinator for the Mental Health Professionals Network," Ms Cook said on Monday.

"So, what I am looking at is to let Gympie know that I actually live here (I tend to keep low profile as I am so busy!) and will be opening up this wonderful NeuroDiversity Hub where I will be providing services from, along with my partner Paul who is a support worker (and also diagnosed on the autism spectrum) for neurodivergent teens, and we will be having a psychologist and other allied health professionals work from there in the future.

"We will also have a good size meeting space (we are leasing two shop spaces) where our charity will be based so we will also be providing a place to provide support groups around autism and neurodivergence, low cost workshops and events that will allow support to all of the community.

To learn more about the many things Ms Cook does, visit

She also founded Spectrum Women Magazine in 2016:

Ms Cook is Deputy Chair on the Executive Committee for the Developmental Educators Australia Inc, the governing body for registered Developmental Educators.

In 2009, she was formally diagnosed on the autism spectrum along with ADHD and phonological dyslexia at age 40. She is editor and co-author of the internationally acclaimed book Spectrum Women: Walking to the Beat of Autism, and founder of Spectrum Women Magazine.

Barb Cook
Barb Cook

In 2017, she was awarded a Special Commendation in the Autism Queensland Creative Futures Awards by the Queensland Governor, and was invited to be a keynote speaker for the National Institute of Mental Health In Washington DC, USA - A Woman's Voice: Understanding Autistic Needs.

Ms Cook holds a Master of Autism (Education) with focus on employment from the University of Wollongong, where she is also a tutor in this program and a researcher where she is co-lead on the project of facilitating the voice and self-determination and self-advocacy for adults on the autism spectrum.

You can contact Ms Cook at email:


Gympie Times

Second teen dies following horror Wolvi crash

Premium Content Second teen dies following horror Wolvi crash

Wolvi crash claims life of Gympie teen Zac Moye

Truck, car and ute collide on Gympie highway

Premium Content Truck, car and ute collide on Gympie highway

One person has been treated by paramedics following the crash in the heart of the...

EXPLAINED: Everything you can do now restrictions have eased

Premium Content EXPLAINED: Everything you can do now restrictions have eased

Everything you can do now COVID-19 restrictions have eased