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.

The Resolution Report

Happy New Year! It seems as though not so long ago, I started another column with those very same words. 

Distancing Through Labels

My heart is broken. I had to call in sick for my deadline this week, because I was too sickened by the events in Newtown, CT on Friday to even begin to put words together in a readable fashion. 

Cautiously Pessimistic

One thing I’ve never been accused of being is overly optimistic. What some people may call pessimistic, I prefer to think of as being prepared for the worst. 

The Guardians

It’s not every morning that I am able to sit down and read the newspaper. On the days that I do, sometimes I find myself wishing I hadn’t because the news is so bleak. 

Parenting Outside the Box: Home-Building

This week’s “Transition from the Trenches” highlights another example of Parenting Outside the Box. 

Health Lessons

There are some things I just don’t get. I do not understand how someone who refuses to eat lettuce without gagging, or walk on a beach barefoot ...