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 Beauty of the Struggle

I attended Back to School Night at Cameron’s sister’s school last week. The math specialist gave her overview of the fifth grade curriculum, and concluded by reading a story. 

Growing Pains

I came downstairs to find Cameron eating his breakfast. 

The Last IEP

Cameron’s final IEP meeting has been scheduled for the end of this month. 

The Delegate from the State of Confusion

The delegate from the State of Confusion has the floor. 

The New R Word

It was particularly cold in the mall, as the A/C worked its way through the end of peak back to school season. 

A New Experience

A new school year means a new internship for Cameron.