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.


Driven to Distraction

Last week, I wrote of my unusually optimistic nature when it comes to Cameron. This optimism was slightly foiled by a less than glowing review of his recent summer employment. 

Optimism, Pessimism and Realism

For the record, I am a glass-half-empty kind of person. I inevitably get in the wrong line at the grocery store, and if there’s a chance of rain, it will rain … as soon as I go outside. 

The Power of Words

Kids say the darndest things. Last summer, we were at a family dinner at my father’s house when Cameron announced to our hosts that I don’t like coming over there because their house is too small. 

At Your Service

It gives me great pleasure to announce that Cameron has had success in finding a summer employment opportunity. 

Gaining Experience

As promised, I took Cameron job hunting last week. My, how things have changed! 

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.