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.
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.”
Last week I attended the monthly Parents Association meeting at Cameron’s school.
I have created my own interpretation of “putting the cart before the horse.” Under my direction (coercion?), Cameron has purchased his first car.
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.
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,
Are you sick of hearing about Facebook chief operating officer, Sheryl Sandberg, and her "Lean In" movement yet? Yeah, me too.
I was recently asked to host a fundraiser for a nonprofit organization that provides employment services for adults with mental illness, addiction or autism.
If you’ve ever read a column I’ve written before, you probably know that I spend a great deal of time trying to figure out where my son will go and what he will do ...
I wanted to take some time in my column this week to commend the job being done by the Wall Street Journal in covering the topic of employment and autism.
One of the reasons I love spending time with Willie is his refreshing lack of pretense. I'm not good at polite deception, and neither is my brother.
There is an old stereotype associated with people on the autism spectrum which states that we lack feelings or, more specifically, have no empathy.
She wouldn’t let go. It had already been a Plan B day for me.
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