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.

Still Spinning

Since I wrote of Cameron’s postsecondary funding dilemma last week, not much progress has been made. 

What Next?

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 ...

Flying High

This winter has been particularly rotten. Cameron's school has somewhere in the region of 11 snow days to make up. 

Birthday Message to My Son

Happy Birthday, Cameron! Nineteen years old.  Where has the time gone? 


Accommodations. Something to which I’ve honestly not given much thought. 

Fit as a Fiddle

Last week, Cameron had an interview with the director of a postsecondary program we are considering. The interview was done via Skype.