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.
There have been times in my life when I would have given anything to have a peek into a crystal ball. I find this transition phase of Cameron’s development to be such a moment.
While on a recent book store visit with my daughter, I found myself wandering over to the ever-growing “autism” section.
In six short weeks, my son will have reached the age of 18. I cannot believe this day is upon us.
Sometimes we parents can learn a thing or two from our children. I am surprised at how much Cameron has taught me about frustration tolerance.
Things are changing in our household. And if you know someone with ASD, you can probably relate to the fact that change isn’t necessarily a good thing according to Cameron.
Sometimes you just have to admit that a great idea isn’t all that great when it’s implemented.
“I’m just not sure what to do, or how to help her,” my friend Marie (a pseudonym) said. Her voice trembled slightly.
When I graduated from college, I found out quickly that to support myself in the “real world” I would have to work two jobs.
April wasn’t only Autism Awareness Month. It was National Stress Awareness Month too. Coincidence?
Part II of our story on autistic adults living in rural America.
Friday night, Cameron attended his high school prom. This wasn’t his first prom, as his school invites all high school students to attend each year, and Cameron had attended the year before...
Our family originally qualified for Supplementary Security income for Cody when he was four years old. I was a single mother, not working at the time and my husband, Bill,
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