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.


Traveling Light

Shout out to the AirTran and TSA agents at Jacksonville International Airport. You guys rock!

Job Training

My son has completed his first week of paid employment! 

Working for a Living

By the time you read this, my son will have arrived at his first day of work for his first paying job.

Miles to Go Before I Weep

This is the time of year when a student’s milestones are often celebrated. 

Broken Glass

I had the exterior of my house painted last week. As part of the process, storm windows were removed, and subsequently leaned against the garage door. 

To ESY or Not to ESY?

It seems I go through the same existential crisis year after year: To ESY or not to ESY?