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.


On the Road Again

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

Believing in Mantras

I am constantly reminding myself that "Cameron will be okay." This phrase has become somewhat of a mantra (and I'm actually starting to believe it.) 

Hard Knocks

There are certain phone calls you never forget. Those are the calls that elicit such an emotional response that the memory is forever fresh in your mind. 

A Bump in the Road

I've heard it said before that aging out of free and appropriate public education is a lot like getting an initial diagnosis of autism all over again. 

Goldilocks and the Three Programs

This is the story of Goldilocks and the Three Postsecondary Programs for Students with ASD. 

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.