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 are some things I just don’t get. I do not understand how someone who refuses to eat lettuce without gagging, or walk on a beach barefoot ...
While flipping radio stations in the car today, I happened across “Firework” by Katy Perry. Within seconds I started tearing up.
I am a very fortunate mom. If you’ve read any of my previous columns, you will fully understand why I say this.
I attended (my first) Parent Social event this weekend.
The ideal internship for Cameron would be a pizza restaurant. Where to begin?
There is a saying that “necessity is the mother of invention.” Likewise, as any parent of a child with special needs knows, ingenuity is the necessity of all mothers!
In May of 2011—19 years after I was first diagnosed with autism at age 4—I was on my way to receive my undergraduate degree from Seton Hall University.
“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...
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