Julie van der Poel

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.


Summer Vacation

Ah, summer vacation. A time of family togetherness … like it or not. For the past three summers, I’ve gone through the same Extended School Year (ESY) dilemma with Cameron. 

Mile Markers

As I wrote in April, Cameron has purchased his first car and has been trying to obtain his Learner’s Permit. 

A Step in the Right Direction

Being a single mom is tough. Being a single mom of a child with disabilities is… well, even suckier.

Time Capsule

One day last week, I discovered a pile of Cameron’s school work on my coffee table. I’m used to these piles magically appearing. 

Pushing Back and Moving On

I'm currently reading a book about helping adults with learning disabilities achieve independence. 

Getting It Together

A horrible tragedy has occurred within Cameron’s school community. The father of a second grade student was critically injured, and his life hangs in the balance.