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.


Becoming the Ultimate Hunter / Warrior

I jumped right into the midst of the game, becoming a Hunter/Warrior version of myself, looking for the silver bullet that would magically make him “normal.”

Getting What You Wish For

Last week I attended the monthly Parents Association meeting at Cameron’s school. 

The Cart Before the Horse

I have created my own interpretation of “putting the cart before the horse.” Under my direction (coercion?), Cameron has purchased his first car.

Tooth and Consequences

I received an email from Cameron’s employment support specialist this week. She was doing her quarterly check-in with Cameron’s manager at work to see how things were going. 

The Mind of the 18-Year-Old Male

Hurray for having an 18-year old-son! At least that’s what I keep trying to tell myself. Even though Cameron is very different from many 18-year-olds, 

Lean On Me

Are you sick of hearing about Facebook chief operating officer, Sheryl Sandberg, and her "Lean In" movement yet? Yeah, me too.