Julie van der Poel

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.


Health, Wellness and the Adult with Autism

These days, when one hears “Healthcare,” political strife is often the first thing that comes to mind. 

Grade Inflation

Cameron is about to graduate from high school. I have to let that sink in for just a bit … In a few short weeks, Cameron will receive a high school diploma. 

Being Aware of Self-Awareness

I strongly believe that in order for Cameron to have any chance at independence, he needs to understand and verbalize the challenges he faces because of his disabilities.

Outcomes Valuation

Trying to figure out the value of a postsecondary program is one of the toughest things I’ve ever done. 

Feelin' Alright

It seems as though the past month has been nothing but worry for me when it comes to Cameron’s future. 

Lessons Learned

I think my aversion to dealing with government entities developed when I became an expat.