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.
As I wrote in April, Cameron has purchased his first car and has been trying to obtain his Learner’s Permit.
Being a single mom is tough. Being a single mom of a child with disabilities is… well, even suckier.
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.
I'm currently reading a book about helping adults with learning disabilities achieve independence.
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.
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 last.
Over the last year or so I’ve talked to parents who have children that have been newly diagnosed with ASD.
Whenever I share stories of my family's experience with Willie's aggressive and self-injurious behavior, I'm always concerned that the accounts will seem over the top to some ...
With April being Autism Awareness Month, everyone is getting into the spirit of helping out when it come to this cause.
I was recently asked to host a fundraiser for a nonprofit organization that provides employment services for adults with mental illness, addiction or autism.
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 ...
I wanted to take some time in my column this week to commend the job being done by the Wall Street Journal in covering the topic of employment and autism.
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