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.

Bruised Souls

While the events surrounding last week’s column have been fraught with emotion, the outpouring of support from readers has been overwhelming. 

Eyes Wide Open

This is one of the most difficult things I've ever had to write. There is raw emotion involved, and I'm not sure what else might erupt within me as I begin to tell this story.

Game Changers

I really thought this week’s column was going to write itself. 

Social Graces

Have you ever had one of the moments when you're just about the drift off to sleep and you suddenly bolt upright as you remember something you've forgotten to do?

Family Planning

I've said before that I have two only children. The age difference between Cameron and his sister is eight years, and they are opposite in every way imaginable. 

Making the Most of Vacation

What makes a vacation a vacation? For me it's all about doing nothing.