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.


Gifts of the Season

Even though the boxes of decorations are back in the attic and the cookies have long been eaten, my thoughts still turn to Christmas. 

Two Steps Forward, One Step Backward

Happy New Year! While in the past I’ve listed my goals for the coming year, my only resolution for 2014 is to find an appropriate post-secondary placement for my son.

The Wild Blue Yonder

Cameron traveled to see his father this past weekend. Cameron has been flying independently for a number of years now ...

The Scrooge Virus

I’ve come down with an early case of the “Bah Humbugs” this year. 

The Search

The search for a postsecondary program for a student like Cameron is not much fun. It’s actually pretty awful. 

On the Road Again

Cameron and I embarked on our second college road trip together last week.