Staff Writer

Staff Writer

Julie van der Poel began her career in the IT industry, where over the course of a decade she wrote user documentation and training programs, developed and managed an educational services department, and eventually headed up a marketing team for an internet startup. Her somewhat accidental career shift towards special education came about during her six-year stint as an expat in Europe. Out of necessity, she became a full-time advocate and teaching support for her young son while they lived in Amsterdam. A move to London found Julie working with high school seniors in her son’s special needs school. It was this experience that fueled Julie’s passion for transition issues facing students with developmental and learning disabilities. Upon returning to the United States, Julie became an Independent Living Skills Instructor for postsecondary students. In this role, Julie developed curriculum and taught students everything from money handling and budgeting, to nutrition and household management.

Julie attended Georgia Tech where she earned a B.S. in Management. Julie now resides in Washington, DC with her family and two labradoodles. When she is not writing for Autism After 16, she spends most of her time ensuring that her 16-year-old son with Autism Spectrum Disorder and his exceptionally bright 8-year-old sister are getting appropriate educations.

Letting the Cat Out of the Bag

While on a recent book store visit with my daughter, I found myself wandering over to the ever-growing “autism” section. 

Birthday Wishes

In six short weeks, my son will have reached the age of 18. I cannot believe this day is upon us. 

Frustration Tolerance

Sometimes we parents can learn a thing or two from our children. I am surprised at how much Cameron has taught me about frustration tolerance. 

Changing Rooms

Things are changing in our household. And if you know someone with ASD, you can probably relate to the fact that change isn’t necessarily a good thing according to Cameron. 

Social Life

Sometimes you just have to admit that a great idea isn’t all that great when it’s implemented. 

Anger Management

This may be dangerous territory I’m venturing into. Perhaps I’ll offend or even shock a few factions of parents out there, but I’m just going to admit it: