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Jennifer Lynn Cook O'Toole (born October 24, 1975) is an American author and speaker.[1] She is known for her Asperkids series of books, which have been translated into six languages, and memoir Autism in Heels: The Untold Story of a Female Life on the Spectrum[2] She was diagnosed with Asperger syndrome in 2011, just after all three of her children were diagnosed with the same condition.[3] In 2019, she became the inaugural Senior Directorial Consultant for Jefferson University'sThomas Jefferson University Center for Autism and Neurodiversity in Philadelphia [4], and was selected to address the United States' National Institutes of Health Interagency Autism Coordinating Committee regarding the unique issues surrounding women, girls, and autism [5]. O'Toole advised the President's Council on Disabilities and President's Council on Sports, Fitness, and Nutrition at the White House in 2015, is a featured contributor in Dr. Tony Atwood's Top Aspie Mentors: Been There, Done That and Autism & Learning Differences,[6] and wrote the forewords to Dragonfly: A Daughter's Emergence from Autism: A Practical Guide for Parents and Easy to Love, Hard to Live With.[7] O'Toole sits on the Autism Society of America's Panel of People on the Spectrum, is a columnist/expert panelist for Amy Poehler's Smart Girls,[8][9] Autism Asperger's Digest,[10] Zoom Autism Magazine,[11] AuKids Magazine,[12] Special Magazine, and the Journal for the North American Montessori Teachers' Association NAMTA, and is a commentator on National Public Radio's WFAE Charlotte Talks[1] and NBC's Charlotte Today.[13]

Jennifer Cook O'Toole
Image of Jennifer Cook O'Toole, answering audience questions.jpeg
Cook O'Toole at the 2014 Top Aspie Mentors Conference
BornJennifer Lynn Cook
(1975-10-24) October 24, 1975 (age 43)
Glen Ridge, New Jersey
OccupationAuthor, speaker
Alma materBrown University, Columbia University


O'Toole was born in Glen Ridge, New Jersey, and grew up in West Caldwell. She is the only child of Joseph (d. 2007) and Jane Cook. Her father was an international commercial litigator. Her mother served as the only woman on their town council for 12 years.

O'Toole began dancing at age two, continuing through college. At seven, she became a member of Mensa. O'Toole attended Brown University, where she was a member of Kappa Alpha Theta. She majored in American Civilization, graduating with honors in 1997.[14] She was hired as a counselor in the Domestic Violence Unit of the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department in Charlotte, NC. In this capacity, she trained officers, led student-focused presentations in colleges and high schools, and served as a victim advocate. In 1999, O'Toole began Master's work at the Graduate School of Social Work at Columbia University in New York City. After Columbia, she enrolled at the Graduate School of Education at Queens University of Charlotte, while teaching language arts at both the middle school and high school levels.[15] In her first term, she garnered a student-initiated nomination for Disney's American Teacher of the Year Award.[16] She and her family live near Charlotte, North Carolina.



  • Asperkids: An Insider's Guide to Loving, Understanding and Teaching Children with Asperger Syndrome
    (2012, Jessica Kingsley Pub) ISBN 978-1849059022[15]
  • The Asperkids' (Secret) Book of Social Rules: The Handbook of Not-So- Obvious Guidelines for Teens and Tweens
    (2012, Jessica Kingsley Publishers) ISBN 978-1849059152[17]
  • The Asperkid's Launch Pad: Home Design That Empowers Everyday Superheroes
    (2013, Jessica Kingsley Publishers) ISBN 978-1849059312[18][19]
  • The Asperkid's Not-Your-Average-Coloring Book
    (2013, Jessica Kingsley Publishers) ISBN 978-1849059589[14]
  • The Asperkid's Game Plan: Purposeful Play, Extraordinary Minds.... Ordinary Stuff
    (2014, Jessica Kingsley Pub) ISBN 978-1849059596[14]


  • Sisterhood of the Spectrum: An Asperger Chick's Guide to Life
    (2015, Jessica Kingsley Publishers) ISBN 978-1849057905 [20]
  • Autism in Heels: The Untold Story of a Female Life on the Spectrum
    (2018, Skyhorse Publishers) ASIN B073X64DSV


  • Foreword for Dragonfly: A Daughter's Emergence from Autism: A Practical Guide for Parents by Lori Ashley Taylor
    (2018, Skyhorse Publishers)
  • Foreword for Easy to Love but Hard to Live With: Real People, Invisible Disabilities, True Stories edited by Lisa Davis
    (2014, DRT Press) ISBN 978-1933084046
  • Featured 'World's Top Aspie Mentors' contributor for Been There. Done That. Try This!: An Aspie's Guide to Life on Earth edited by Tony Attwood
    (2014, Jessica Kingsley Publishers) ISBN 978-1849059640
  • Featured contributor for Autism and Learning Differences: An Active Learning, Teaching Toolkit by Michael P. MacMannon, with a foreword by Stephen Shore
    (2015, Jessica Kingsley Publishers) ISBN 978-1849057943


  • Speaking Geek: Translating Typical for the Human Spectrum[21]

Awards and honorsEdit

  • 24 Amazing Feminist Books of 2018, Book Riot, 2018 [22]
  • Outstanding Literary Work of the Year, Autism Society of America, 2014 [23]
  • 50 Most Influential Women in North Carolina, 2014[24]
  • 25 Most Amazing Autistic Women, Autistic Spectrum Digest, August 2014[25]
  • Temple Grandin Award for Outstanding Global Contributions, Future Horizons[26]
  • Women Inspiring Strength & Hope Award, Make-A-Wish [27]
  • GRASP Excellence in Parenting/Distinguished Spectrumite[26]
  • AuKids Speaker of the Year[26]
  • Leading Woman, The Kappa Alpha Theta Leading Women Award (2013) [28]
  • Disney's Babble: Top 30 Autism Spectrum Blogs 2013
  • Disney's Babble: Top 30 Autism Facebook Fan Pages 2013
  • Disney's Babble: Top 30 Autism Websites
  • Godiva's Woman of the Year, Nominee[26]


  1. ^ a b "Asperger Syndrome And 'Asperkids'". WFAE-NPR radio. Retrieved 6 October 2015.
  2. ^ "Different Normal Autism in Heels is a new memoir about life on the spectrum". Brown Alumni Magazine. Retrieved 10 Jan 2019.
  3. ^ Rhodes, Giulia. "Asperger's: 'This is our normal'". The Guardian. Retrieved 6 October 2015.
  4. ^ "Jefferson's autism-friendly initiative aims to make health care better for everyone". WHYY. Retrieved 6 May 2019.
  5. ^ "NIMH Special Event for Autism Awareness Month A Woman's Voice: Understanding Autistic Needs". Department of Heath & Human Services: NIH/NIMH:IACC. Retrieved 23 April 2019.
  6. ^ "Differences in Learning". Context Education. Retrieved 1 December 2017.
  7. ^ "Easy to Love, Hard to Live With: Understanding the Challenges of Invisible Disabilities". RadioMD. Retrieved 2015-10-24.
  8. ^ O'Toole, Jennifer. "Aspergers and Autism in Girls: Don't Be Afraid of Your Awesomeness". Amy Poehler's Smart Girls. Archived from the original on 31 October 2015. Retrieved 31 October 2015. Italic or bold markup not allowed in: |publisher= (help)
  9. ^ "Aspergers and Autism in Pink | Amy Poehler's Smart Girls". Amy Poehler's Smart Girls. Retrieved 2015-10-24.
  10. ^ "Jennifer Cook O'Toole Archives - Autism Asperger's Digest". Autism Asperger's Digest. Autism Asperger's Digest. Retrieved 2015-10-24.
  11. ^ "Cover Story: Congratulations You Have Autism". Zoom (Spring): 33. 2015. Archived from the original on 31 October 2015. Retrieved 31 October 2015.
  12. ^ "Our Experts". Aukids magazine. Archived from the original on 31 October 2015. Retrieved 31 October 2015. Italic or bold markup not allowed in: |publisher= (help)
  13. ^ "How Asperkids helps kids with aspergers". WCNC NBC Charlotte. Retrieved 31 October 2015.
  14. ^ a b c Hallmark, Gi (10 April 2014). "A Chat with Asperkids™ Author Jennifer Cook O'Toole". The Childrens Book Review. Retrieved 24 October 2015.
  15. ^ a b "Parenting and Teaching Children with Autism". Library Journal. Retrieved 6 October 2015.
  16. ^ "JENNIFER O'TOOLE". Speaking of Difference. Retrieved 24 October 2015.
  17. ^ "The Asperkid's Secret Book of Social Rules: The Handbook of Not-So-Obvious Social Guidelines for Tweens and Teen with Asperger Syndrome (review)". Publishers Weekly. Retrieved 6 October 2015.
  18. ^ "The Asperkid's launch pad; home design to empower everyday superheroes. (review)". Reference and Research Book News. 28 (4). 2013. ProQuest 1416243452.
  19. ^ "The Asperkid's Launch Pad: Homes That Empower Everyday Superheroes (review)". Library Journal. Retrieved 6 October 2015.
  20. ^ Rankowski, Brigid. "Let's hear it for the girls: Asperkids' new book". Autism Daily Newscast. Retrieved 6 October 2015.
  21. ^ "Speaking Geek: Translating Typical for the Human Spectrum". Asperkids. Retrieved 2015-10-24.
  22. ^ Scott, Kate (2017-12-19). "24 Amazing New Feminist Books Coming in 2018". BOOK RIOT. Retrieved 2019-10-15.
  23. ^ "Autism Society of America". Autism Society of America. Retrieved 1 December 2017.
  24. ^ "South Charlotte resident releases sixth book on Asperger's syndrome". South Charlotte Weekly. Retrieved 2015-10-24.
  25. ^ "Amazing Autistic Women – Special Edition of ASDigest". Autism Daily Newscast. Retrieved 6 October 2015.
  26. ^ a b c d Joss, Laurel (26 May 2014). "Inspiring Women with Autism: Jennifer Cook O'Toole". Autism Daily Newscast. Retrieved 24 October 2015.
  27. ^ "Salads, Spreadsheets & the Spectrum: The Fight that Has Nothing to Do with Food - Jennifer O'Toole". Spectrum Women. 2017-05-07. Retrieved 2019-10-15.
  28. ^ Snell, Greta (January 15, 2014). "Leading Woman". The Kappa Alpha Theta Magazine. 128 (2:Winter 2013–2014): pg. 27. Retrieved March 30, 2018.

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External linksEdit