About the Speakers…
BARB COOK is an internationally recognised author, speaker and advocate. She is a registered Developmental Educator, Autism and Neurodiversity Employment Consultant and Life Coach. Barb has a Master of Autism (Education) with focus on employment from the University of Wollongong, where she is also a tutor and a research assistant in the area of self-determination and self-advocacy for adults on the autism spectrum.
She is founder of Spectrum Women and editor and coauthor of the internationally acclaimed book, Spectrum Women: Walking to the Beat of Autism.
Barb identifies as neurodivergent, being diagnosed with autism, ADHD and dyslexia in 2009 at age 40, and promotes a strength-based and person-centred approach in her work and life.
YENN PURKIS (formerly Jeanette Purkis) is an autistic author, presenter and advocate. Yenn has six published books on elements of autism, has given many keynote presentations including for TEDx Canberra and represents on several advisory boards and committees. Yenn has had a number of media engagements including featuring in the ABC documentary Alone in a Crowded Room. Yenn is active in social media, publishing weekly blogs and a daily meme since 2014.
Yenn was named the 2016 ACT Volunteer of the Year and has a number of other awards for community leadership. They even feature on a mural of local heroes in Canberra where they live. Yenn has facilitated a women’s support group in Canberra since 2011 and mentors a number of young people on the autism spectrum. Yenn also works for the Australian Public Service.