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.

You Say Disability, I Say Autism

Okay, I’ll admit it. I sometimes have a tendency to forget that “disability” and “autism” are not synonymous. 

The Happiest Place on Earth

I am now officially the parent of an adult child. Cameron has reached the age of majority. And how are we celebrating?


Cameron had a surprise at school on Friday. He was presented with an award for completing 180 days of paid employment. 

Defiantly Compliant

I took Cameron to the mall last weekend, and oh what a joy that was! Usually, Cameron enjoys a trip to the mall. 

Life Long Learning

I recently attended yet another information session pertaining to Transition. This one was held at Cameron’s school and was conducted by the “local” community college. 

Seeking Crystal Ball

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.