Return to
Japan With Kids Home Page

Forum Main Page
Keyword Search
New Posts
Last Week

Getting Started
Register Here
Edit Profile
Contact Admin

For Admins
Forum Software

Special Needs Education in Japan

Japan With Kids - Forums: Education in Japan: Special Needs Education in Japan
By Admin on Wednesday, January 16, 2002 - 2:50 pm:

There is an email list for parents of special kids living in Japan as well as this forum (the e-list is more "private" whereas this forum can be read without being a member) and we've put up a page with resources which includes the link to this e-list.

By Anne Tischlinger on Tuesday, March 26, 2002 - 8:21 am:

I teach "English Conversation" at the Japanese School in Vienna, Austria. As I occasionally encounter children in my classes where I very strongly suspect AD/HD (undiagnosed) and then the families return to Japan, I'm wondering if anyone can give me names and addresses of experts who skillful and experienced enough to diagnose and treat AD/HD (the latter also with medication). I'd like to be able to point the families at least in the right direction so that the children will not be automatically set up for failure because of their inability to focus on schoolwork that is not highly stimulating and because of the trouble that they have socially as a result of their inconsistent attention skills. In Austria, we (3 foreign women) have founded an AD/HD association that is located in Vienna ( ....but it's in German)and as we all have AD/HD in our families, we are more than familiar with the devastation (or occasionally fame and fortune) that it can lead to. I'd like to be able to offer the families I meet here some concrete assistance. The only AD/HD book in Japanese that I've actually seen in Dr Geoff Kewley's, but I believe there are now many more.

I'm looking forward to hearing from some of you!

Anne Tischlinger, Vienna Japanese School

By Linda Sukop on Wednesday, March 27, 2002 - 8:09 am:

Dear Ms. Tischlinger,

I'm sorry that I really don't know any more than is already posted on the Special Needs page on Tokyo with Kids, and that information is mostly for foreigners in Japan. But I'll try to get some more leads if I can (through the Special Kids Japan e-list at

Amazon Japan has 48 books on the subject of ADHD in Japanese. Surely some of them would have up to date information about resources and support for families here.

When I did a Google search ("ADHD jp"), several parent groups came up:
Kanagawa, Chiba and Saitama:

There are probably still more in the Tokyo area as well as in other prefectures.
There is an ADHD webring:
And this should be checked out as well:

National Parents' Association of Learning Disabilities in Japan
Zenkoku LD Oya no Kai
c/o Tokyo Volunteer Center #27, 1-1 Kaguragashi, Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo 162-0823
Email: -- Osamu Yamaoka

There are links to parent groups and evaluation and counseling centers all over Japan. Such groups are often the best place to start getting information, of course.
There is a Japanese word besides "ADHD" (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder), but it's very long: "chuui-kekkan-tadousei-shougai". The Japanese mostly say ADHD, too, it seems!

Best of luck!
Linda (Mother of a child with special needs)

By joy beless on Wednesday, March 27, 2002 - 1:12 pm:

CONNECTING FAMILY LINKS - Communicating with Siblings

Fumie Kamitoh, Psycho therapist, will speak about improving communication within the family with emphasis on siblings of special needs children.

April 11, 2002
TELL Conference Room Near Omotesando station
9:30 - 11:30 Open to the public.

RSVP and Information:
Joy Beless (has left Japan 2002)
Sheri Gilman 03)3442-5188

By Admin on Friday, May 3, 2002 - 10:40 am:

What do you Do? What do you Say?
Coping with Public Reactions

Therapist Maggie Yamasaki, MA NASW, a long term resident of Japan, will speak about issues and strategies that involve dealing with reactions from the public. Maggie has a master's degree in counseling psychology and in social work. She currently is in private practice, working with families
in the Tokyo area.

Date: Thursday, May 16th, 2002
Time: 9:30 - 11:30
Place: Tokyo English Life Line Conference Room (7 minute walk from Omotesando Station)
Joy Beless 03)3460-2606 joy[at]
Sheri Gilman 03)3442-5188 sgotr[at]
Sponsored by Tokyo English life Line (TELL), a professional non-profit organization providing counseling to the community since 1973.
A 300 yen donation is appreciated.

By Alex on Wednesday, July 31, 2002 - 11:58 am:

I am looking for someone in the special ed field with knowledge and experience in ABA and PECS to provide one on one home program for an autistic kid. 10 hours weekly. I can only offer 2,500 yen per hour. Anyone interested please send email to

By rach on Saturday, November 30, 2002 - 8:13 am:

I a friend of mine is planning to move to Tokyo in February her 3 year old son has Aspergers. She is looking to enroll her son in an international school which can provide support and appropriate classroom help for her son. I would to know other parents experience so she can make an informed decisions. Other than the school fee, she wont be able to pay for any private sessions, so she would like to know all possible information before they move.


By Esther Sanders on Friday, December 6, 2002 - 4:08 pm:

Dear Rachel:

My son is 5 and also has Asperger's Syndrome. We use Japanese and will probably send him to Japanese public school, but I have some familiarity with the international school community in Tokyo. As a general rule, I've heard that most of the schools would probably not openly welcome a child with Asperger's and you would be referred to the Tokyo International Learning Community, a special ed school. Most of the students there, though, have more profound handicaps, so the environment is not really appropriate for a child with Asperger's. Your friend might want to call the Christian Academy of Japan, which recently held an in-service workshop on Asperger's and high-functioning autism and may be more inclusive. Tokyo International School is a newer and somewhat more progressive school that may also be worth an inquiry. Homeschooling is another option.

If Japanese private school is also under consideration, two that are known for integrating all types of students, including autistics, are the Wako School (Wako Yochien, Wako Shogakko, etc.) in Setagaya Ward, Tokyo (NOT Wako in Saitama!) and the Musashino Higashi School, which is affiliated with the Boston Higashi School in the United States and may have some kind of joint program with the Sacred Heart international school as well.

Your friend can also email me if she wants to get in touch:


By Admin on Thursday, January 16, 2003 - 8:22 pm:

Sheri Gilman, the Director of Special Needs Services at TELL Community Counseling Service, is in the process of developing a support group for parents of children with special needs. It would be an open group (monthly) and parents could attend as their schedules allowed. Would any of you who are in Tokyo be interested? If so, please contact her at

Sheri has also been organizing the series of speakers at TELL. There will be a speaker again on February 13th, details to be announced soon.

By Admin on Saturday, January 18, 2003 - 11:19 am:

There have been several additions and changes made to the special needs page at:

for example: Ron Shumsky's phone number at the Bluff address has changed from 045-805-4509 to 042-382-1263

If anyone finds mistakes please contact me directly with the corrections by clicking here and please write "special needs correction" in the subject line.

By Admin on Wednesday, February 19, 2003 - 5:40 pm:

The Exceptional Parents Program of TELL Community Counseling Service presents a workshop entitled, "What is Muscle Tone?" on March 13th to be held in the TELL Conference Room in Minami-Aoyama. This presentation given by Certified Therapeutic Recreation Specialist, Lily Matsubara will develop the understanding of tone and its influence on posture, movement, & the learning of motor skills. Lily is a Therapeutic Recreation Specialist at Tokyo International Learning Community (TILC)and her expertise includes teaching fundamental movement and fitness skills in sports and play. Simple exercises to increase tone will be discussed and demonstrated-please come in comfortable clothing and bring a towel. Registration begins at 9:30. For further information please contact: Sheri Gilman, Director of Special Needs Services, TELL Community Counseling Service.

By Admin on Friday, April 11, 2003 - 2:18 pm:

The Exceptional Parents Program of TELL presents:

Elizabeth Gillies, Educational Psychologist

Join us on Thursday, May 29th at 9:30 at the TELL Community Counseling Service conference room.
Come with your concerns about behavioral issues and learn some new strategies for managing various challenges.

For further information, contact:
Sheri Gilman

By Tara on Wednesday, July 30, 2003 - 1:45 pm:

"24 Jun 2003
Dear Sir/Madam,
We have a child with Down syndrome on 8 years of age. We will come to Tokyo between June 2004 and March 2005. She continues to the special education school in our city, Elazig. We are planning to send her to a school for education in Tokyo. Our job will be at Keio University hospital. We would like learn about the government or private schools and their fee. We will be very glad, if can inform us about this topic.
Sincerely, Dr. M. F. O."

I'm afraid I don't know where Keio University hospital is -- is that in Tokyo or Kanagawa prefecture? That will affect schooling to some extent (although 90-95% of the ways schools are run are standardized nationally). I can only talk about the public schools, because I know nothing about the private schools. However, I do know that private schools exist.

(1) If you are interested in sending your child to a School for the Mentally Handicapped (called "You-go gakkou", which is pronounced "yoh-go gak-koh"):

Your child's school will be determined by where you live. As soon as you arrive in Japan, you will need to go to your City Hall ("shi-yaku-sho") or Ward Office ("ku-yaku-sho" -- a Ward Office is the Tokyo version of City Hall) and register as a resident alien (since you will be working at the hospital, I am sure that one of your supervisors/coworkers will assist you with this). Your child will be eligible for public school from the following day.

After you finish registering as a resident alien, go immediately to the school affairs section (in the same building) and explain that your child needs to attend a special school. She will need to get an "Ai no Techou," which is a little booklet with a photo of her inside and information about her disability (bring proof of her disability with you to Japan if possible). After she receives the "Ai no Techou" she will qualify for enrollment in a special school. Even if you choose to enroll your daughter in a regular public school, the "Ai no Techou" is useful for receiving train/bus discounts and so on, so I recommend that you get one.

The City/Ward Office will tell you which school your child will go to, based on your address. If you have a choice over where to live, consider going to the City/Ward Office first and finding out what schools exist, then visit 3-4 schools and choose the school you like, then choose an apartment based on that. (This might require you to go back to the Office later and register a change of address, but it is worth it.) There is a LOT of variety of quality among schools and if you have a choice, I recommend that you visit schools if possible. Even walking around for 1-2 hours at a school will glean you a lot of information.

Things such as how your child will commute to school vary according to which school the child is attending (affected by the proximitiy of the school to the nearest train station). In other words, schools which are far away from a train station might have a school bus which picks children up at the nearest station; other schools would require the child to get to school without help from the school (by him/herself or with a parent, according to the child's individual abilities). The Office probably does not have this information on file, but if you ask them, they will call the individual schools and ask for you.

(2) If you would rather send your child to the local public school:

Each public school has a special class for students with mental handicaps. The number of students in your child's grade can vary widely. Sometimes there will be only 2 students in the whole school in this special class. I have also seen extremely large groups, which are then broken into two classes according to age (or according to ability/degree of handicap). The rule (if I recall correctly) is that there can't be more than 6 kids per 'special class' from 1st-6th grades; after that, there can be up to 8 kids per class. Each class will have a homeroom teacher and an assistant homeroom teacher.

Some parents are happy to see only 2 kids per class, but to me, it looks very lonely. They spend most of their day with the teacher instead of with other kids. They have recess together and so on, but I don't think that the other kids play with them very much. Visit a few elementary schools and see how many kids are in the special class, and follow them around for a morning to find out what they do and *with whom*. In my kids' elementary school, the teacher of that special class is absolutely EXCELLENT, so I am sure the children are getting a wonderful education, but there just aren't enough kids in the class, it seems. Obviously, every school is different.

If you find a teacher whom you really like (and I believe that if you watch the teacher for a little while you will be able to KNOW if he/she is good, even if you don't speak Japanese), be sure to ask how many years the teacher has been with that particular school. I don't know the case with Kanagawa, but in Tokyo, the maximum number of years at any particular school is supposed to be eight, which can be extended up to 12 if there is a 'special reason' for doing so. (For example, if the principal makes a special appeal to the Board of Education that the teacher is indispenable.) Be careful if you are choosing a school based on the TEACHER, as the teacher might be transferred out soon. So, certainly, ask how many years the teacher has been there.

Whichever option you choose, all public education is free until 9th grade. You'll have to cover the costs of school-provided lunches (mandatory-- you can't bring your own), art materials, school trips to the museum, and so on. School lunches usually run about 8000 yen per month at my kids' schools. School trips seem to run about 2000 yen, sometimes as much as 6000 yen. Art materials, required workbooks, and so on are about Y15,000 per YEAR for my elementary school kid and Y10,000 per MONTH for my junior high school kid. (Both of them are in public schools.)

Hope this helps, and sorry for the late reply.

Tara, Adachi-ku, Tokyo

By Naoko Hayakawa on Thursday, July 31, 2003 - 6:47 pm:

Hello! I am new to the board. There is one school for children with special needs I know that you may be interested in. It's called 'Aiiku Yogo Gakko', located in Azabu, Minatoku. I understand that Keio University Hospital is located in the Tokyo city center (Shinjuku, right?), so the school should be within fairy easy reach. One of my friends sends her son to this school and is very happy with what they do. Aiiku School is chaired by Dr. Tsumori, a prominent figure in the field of special education in Japan. It is a cozy private school and their philosophy is quite unique. I know that there is one American student currently enrolled and the school has had several students from non-Japanese speaking background. Here is their website in Japanese/English for your reference. Hope it helps.

By Admin on Wednesday, October 8, 2003 - 5:42 am:

TELL Community Counseling: Exceptional Parent Group Presents:
"It's All in the Family" Understanding Sibling Relationships
Join us as we learn about the strengths of sibling relationships. Are our expectations for family relationships too high or too low? Do relationships within a family differ when a sibling has a disability? What do sisters and brothers learn about relationships when there is a sibling who has a special need? How do we help our children cope with the demands that are a part of their lives when a sibling has a disability?

Discussion lead by: Margi Anderson, LCSW Social Work/Therapist and Junko Muraki, MA/Drama Therapist. Margi and Junko bring their experiences in working with children痴 groups to this informative session and they will share their thoughts on building friendships and supports inside and outside the family.

Date: October 16, 2003
Time: Registration 9:30-10:00 Discussion 10:00-11:00
Where: TELL Community Counseling Service, Conference Room, 5-4-22 Minami Aoyama, Minato-ku, Tokyo 107-0062
**RSVP- To help us plan for this session, please contact Sheri Gilman, tellparentgroup[at]

By childpsychology on Saturday, February 7, 2004 - 9:17 pm:

I'm looking for a special needs children support group in tokyo. I have extensive experience in special education and would like to share it with the group since I found out that there is a need for such. Thanks!

By Admin on Friday, July 30, 2004 - 3:53 am:

Waldorf Steiner school opens in Shinagawa, Tokyo, with spaces available to children with some types of special needs and an English curriculum:

By Keiko Nakagawa on Thursday, September 9, 2004 - 1:44 am:

My name is Keiko Nakagawa.
I'm a 25 years old Japanese female who studied Therapeutic Recreation (TR) at the University of Wisconsin.
I'm looking for a full-time/part-time job which allows me to use my TR knowledge and skills I gained through a number of experiences.

I'm currently doing an internship with Edina park and recreation department as an adaptive/inclusive recreation intern. But I'm going back to Japan in Oct. My hometown is Zama city in Kanagawa prefecture (very accessibe to Tokyo).

I love to play with kids. I have a lot of experiences working with kids in the U.S. such as summer camp counselor, playground leader, various kinds of camp staff, and so on...
I don't care if the kids have disabilities or not. (I have experiences working with kids with and without disabilities.)

I can speak both Japanese (Native)and English (fluent).
If you're intersted in my resume or have any question, please email me at

I'll be happy to just help out parents who have kids with disabilities in Japan.
You can email me anytime just for a help.


By Cornelia on Monday, October 4, 2004 - 2:05 pm:

OK, another friend has left Japan a few days ago because she was pretty much emphatically adivised that her special kid will get much better of everything back in her home country (Canada). Just 8 months ago another dear friend left for Australia ... same reasons. Another family has imported from "home" a full-time special ed nanny for their child. There is a lot of frustration here in Japan with what is NOT available and how seriously "behind" all the resources for special kids seem to be here compared to other countries of similar economic wealth. The internet has proven to be an enormous source of information and support. At the same time there are big steps forward being made in Tokyo, but it's not all happening overnight.

I just found another great website and here's another story on autism for those who are interested. This one takes place in the family of a major league ball player in Baltimore:
August 2004
"The [USA] government is about to conduct the most comprehensive study of autism ever undertaken in the United States. Field research could begin in January and encompass some 6,000 case studies."

While you are at it: "inclusion", not "mainstreaming" (New York City)
"The Lessons of Classroom 506; What a year of 'immersion' can do to a boy -- and everyone around him."
by Lisa Belkin
New York Times Magazine, September 12, 2004

By Kit on Monday, October 4, 2004 - 4:55 pm:

This month's J-Select magazine ( has an article by Suzanne Kamata on a school located in Tokushima for children with a broad range of hearing challenges.

note from Admin:
Here's a quote in case the article disappears, that might help make it easier to search for it at a possible new location. The article ends abruptly and the web site is designed with frames within frames so it is very awkward.

"The lingua franca at the Tokushima School for the Deaf is signed Japanese, or SimCom ・a literal and simultaneous translation of spoken Japanese. It is different from Japanese Sign Language, the language generally used by the deaf among themselves. Although the signs are the same, Japanese Sign Language has its own grammar."

By Linda Gondo on Tuesday, November 2, 2004 - 8:28 pm:

The childcare facility on the 5th floor of Kododomo no Shiro (Children's Castle) in Shibuya has a "hoiku club" that may be an option for someone with special needs. My husband and I recently attended a lecture given by the head teacher there where she discussed amongst other things the fact that Kodomo no Shiro accepts special needs and handicapped students. My daughter has been attending there for a year and a half and I have not seen anyone with an obvious disability, however this is the national centre for child development and a kind of "demonstration school" where student teachers come and learn how to teach, and one would think they would welcome the chance to include a child with disabilities in their classrooms. The whole building is wheelchair accessible by elevator and ramps and the classrooms are extremely spacious, so I wouldn't think a wheelchair would be a problem. It also has parking underneath the building. The facilities are excellent and students have access to all that Kodomo no shiro has to offer. The student to teacher ratio is very low. There are four teachers to twelve students in the two year old class, and four teachers to about thirty students in the three, four and five year old class (multiage). They also have a special art teacher as well as student teachers and volunteers so the ratio actually smaller. All instruction is in Japanese. Communication with the teachers could be a problem for non- Japanese speakers, however there are ways of getting around this. The newsletter comes around once a week only, rather than every day, so perhaps a kind neighbour could help with this. A friend of mine who sends her child to a Japanese yochien faxes her neighbour her (daily)newsletters, who reads through all the irrelevant stuff and over the phone gives her the essentials (in exchange for English lessons.)
The two years old class is 10:00-2:00 two days a week, three years old class is 10:00-4:00 two days a week and four and five years old class is from 10:00 to 2:00 four days a week Tuesday to Friday, with an option to extend to four o'clock some days.

I don't know what kinds of special needs they accept, however this option may be worth exploring for someone.

By cheryl ann on Monday, December 27, 2004 - 11:07 am:

I have worked with children with many disabilities from Autism, ADD, AD/HD, MR and teamed up with speech, physical and occupational therapist on Behavioral programs. I am willing to provide tutorial or homeschooling for children who are not ready to mainstream to big schools at this time. I can provide assistance with ABA instructions and respite to the family setting. If you are interested, please send me an email. Thank you.

By Admin on Monday, February 7, 2005 - 11:45 am:

Homeschooling Extraordinary Kids
Hello, I host an international forum for parents of homeschoolers who are Gifted with a Learning Disability. The forum has a database on all types of homeschooling topics including international sites as well as Gifted - LD - Gifted with LD resources. Current members represent the countries of Canada, UK, Australia, Thailand and the USA.
Created: Apr 17, 2004, Members as of today: 269
Gail, moderator and list owner

By Kim Ellison on Wednesday, June 22, 2005 - 10:34 pm:

My daughter attends a Japanese daycare and for the last year or so one boy has been very disruptive and violent. Today my daughter has a black eye because he slapped her for no reason. At the last meeting 6 months ago I expressed my concern about this boy because my daughter was upset that he hit her and her friends. The teacher said basically that he picked on everyone and the kids are learning how to cope so not to worry.
A couple of weeks ago my daughter's best friend was taken to hospital because he hit her in the mouth and split her mouth. I've also seen him attack the teachers and kicking tables and cupboards while the other kids cowered in a corner.
Today I suggested that they talk to his parents about finding out if he had ADHD. Tomorrow is our yearly meeting and I am getting anxious about my daughter's safety.
I'd like to hear any comments from parents of ADHD children as to how I should broach this subject either with the other parents, teachers or even directly to the boy's parents.
They are all Japanese so I feel like I shouldn't say anything to rock the boat but I'm not sure how and if anyone is trained to care for ADHD kids in daycare level and what should I do to make it easier for everyone to cope.

By Peter E on Wednesday, June 22, 2005 - 11:06 pm:

That teacher sold you a line. That is not the sort of answer they are supposed to be giving. Escalate to the head of that nursery, but start reasonably.

It's probably not attention deficit, thats the modern catch all for anything. He could be wonky in the head, nursery nurses are supposed to stop that sort of crap and talk to the parents.

I suggest you ask them what they have done about it. Although in all likelihood, the answer is diddly-squat.

If its parents day and all the parents are there, I suggest that you DO rock the boat, and quite vociferously too. Something along the lines of "Nursery is supposed to be a safe place for our children, not for them to be beaten up by uncontrollable bullies. What are we going to do about 's " Even better if 's parents are there. Get on their case.

Gaijins can get away with rocking the boat because its so unjapanese. Oh, You'll get funny looks, people will whisper behind your back (they do that to me too, but I stopped caring about them years ago.) Just don't do it all the time.

The other option is to find another nursery, request a transfer and cite that boy as a reason. You have to be quite vociferous in Japanese at the ward office though. Preferably where other mums can hear you complaining about "violent kids at ". Word will get around on the mum's circuit.

Lots of useful links here, including japanese government ones.

By Yuko Kubota on Thursday, June 23, 2005 - 12:17 am:


Any parent, of any nationality would understand your concern.

First of all, I don't know if this was some kind of mis-translation or not, but I don't think any parent can be just said, "not to worry" and not worry about it if their children are getting injuries. Usually, a responsible teacher would have said something along the lines of "We understand your concern and are doing this and that, and welcome any better ideas." Also, now that 2 children are actually injured, a proper procedure would be to give a long explanation on a fixed date, i.e. an emergency meeting with all the parents. I suppose your meeting tomorrow will work as that.

However, I can't really agree with Peter about rocking the boat "vociferously." I just don't think it will solve the problem.

Possible solution;
I am possitive that other parents are very concerned about this matter too, and in any situation, it is always safer to talk to fellow parents first. Try to talk to a mother when you're picking up your daughter, or if your daughter has a classmate she plays with, that's a good chance to phone the mother of that friend. Do some research about what others are thinking. But hopefully, someone will speak up at the meeting tomorrow if not you, and hopefully an explanation from the facilitiy can already be scheduled.

I'm glad to know you're not just trying to lock up that boy, but considering professional help. Every child including the boy needs gentle care, and if I were the mother of the boy or even the teachers, being bashed will just make things worse.

So I would definitely encourage you to talk in the tone of "let's HELP the boy so that everyone can be happy" which is usually the tone that respectable Japanese teachers and parents talk in today.

You can mention "ADHD" but try your best to make it not sound like it's illness. Focus on the fact that professional help may encourage the boy to live easily, and that teachers and other parents can also study more about children like him who may need special attention. After all, it may not be ADHD but some kind of domestic problem or such.

Meanwhile, you should demand the principal (in an "asking tone") to watch the boy at all times so that he won't injure anybody.

And keep in mind that facilities such as day care should be insured enough to take care of the medical fees such as the case for your daughter's best friend.

If any of these doesn't seem to work, THEN you can rock the boat harder. In any case, speaking up is what any parent should do even in Japan. Just keep your voice in a mild tone, so that people will LISTEN to you.

Children learning to cope with each other is one thing. Preventing injuries is another.

Just a thought from a Japanese mom who have been raising a child in Japan for the past 13 years.

By Julie Hansberry on Thursday, June 23, 2005 - 3:33 am:

First of all, don't just assume this kid has ADHD. Most importantly, this is obviously been an ongoing problem that the school is failing to correct. I personally would get the other involved parents together and collectively insist that something be done exceptions, no more excuses. This kids obviously has "a problem" and also deserves to get the help he needs. He's acting out for a reason, but that's no excuse to expect the other children to just get used to it. Good luck!

By Julie Hansberry on Thursday, June 23, 2005 - 3:33 am:

First of all, don't just assume this kid has ADHD. Most importantly, this is obviously been an ongoing problem that the school is failing to correct. I personally would get the other involved parents together and collectively insist that something be done exceptions, no more excuses. This kids obviously has "a problem" and also deserves to get the help he needs. He's acting out for a reason, but that's no excuse to expect the other children to just get used to it. Good luck!

By Mono on Thursday, June 23, 2005 - 1:34 pm:

Dear Kim,
Before making my share of suggestions, here's what I think is happening at your daughter's daycare: I don't believe the teachers there didn't do much to solve the situation. I got the feeling that they are just doing what the educators in Japan are doing these days, giving kids the opportunities to understand, I hate to use this word but, the "different" people. The Japanese schools used to lock up・the children with mental or physical disabilities in a separate classroom, but I understand that more and more of those children are given chances to attend the regular classes nowadays. The daycare my son attended in Japan had some children with (some severe) mental and physical disabilities, too, but the kids treated those children like any other kids. This kind of stuff was rare when I was a kid. I had a classmate who was often sent to this class for the kids with disabilities, but my teachers never told us her condition. It was simply one of those things we were not supposed to talk about, and I know for the fact that some people in that neighborhood still talk about her because they don't know what's wrong with her. I appreciate the school’s effort to help children understand those who are "different" in real life, instead of teaching about it in the ethics class which was the case when I was in schools. So, I don't think your daughter's teacher said it to ease your mind when s/he told you that the kids are learning how to cope. S/he said it because that's exactly what the kids are doing.

Having said all that, I can totally relate to your concern for your daughter's safety as someone who went through a similar problem at my son's after school program (jidoukan). Since you've already expressed your concerns, made suggestions, and you probably won't read this until after the meeting, so I don't know what else to say, but try not to focus too much on ADHD. Like Yuko-san said, try focusing on the fact that that boy MAY need a professional help. Back in the U.S., I had parents who decided to pull their son from my son's class because he was physically harming many kids. They could do so because they were well-off and didn't have a problem hiring someone to watch him, and I assume the parents of that boy in your daughter's daycare can't pull him out like that.

Yes, that boy needs a serious help. I don’t doubt that his parents are also in need of help and support, so try not to agitate them too much. I don’t know whether the teachers had sit-down talks with that boy’s parents before, but I hope they’ll do so after today’s meeting if they had'nt done it before.

By Yuko Kubota on Thursday, June 23, 2005 - 7:41 pm:

I hope all went well at Kim's day care meeting today.

And I thank Momo for backing me up. However, I do have to repeat that (A) learning to cope with an annoying boy and (B) preventing injuries, are 2 different things.

All children need to support that boy and learn to deal with him as friends, but at the same time, teachers as well as his parents should explain his situation if any to the whole class.

My understanding is that education today tries to focus on opening up and explaining properly. And it usually works better that way.

Teachers at my son's school have been teaching children to sit together with those with serious mental problems, but still, once the child becomes violent the teachers will hold that child tight so that he can't affect other children.

By Leese Johnson on Thursday, June 23, 2005 - 8:53 pm:

I DO think it is VERY appropriate to be concerned for one's own child (what 5 years old?) that comes home with a black eye from the violence of another child! In my opinion any parent has complete right and responsibility to protect their child from bodily harm.

I do believe that children do need to learn to "stick up for themselves" and how to get along with difficult and different people. However at some point the decision needs to be made wether to intervene. If I were in a situation where someone gave me a black eye and split another's lip open requiring a doctor's care I wouldn't want to go back, especially if the ones in charge tell me not to worry as he picked on everyone else and they were learning to cope with him. Sounds like the previous attitude of sexual harrasment.

I mean, come on! The adults in this situation need to intervene and stop this kid from terrorizing the others. That may mean proffessional help, I don't know. I don't think it is any of our position to diagnose a child with any disorder or syndrome. The teacher should be directing those parents down that road. As a parent, our jobs are to protect our children first. If the attacks don't stop or the attitude doesn't improve, I'd look for another place for my child.


By Lorraine Zinnack on Sunday, June 26, 2005 - 8:15 am:

I have been following this subject with interest as I am sure that a lot of inappropriate behaviour by children is the result of the personal stress they are feeling. Unfortunately this then affects other children and adults around them. If the children are not helped to cope at the beginning, often the behavioural problems escalate alarmingly as they grow into teenagers and sometimes even on into adulthood.
My special concern is young people in Japan who become hikikomori, and how they can be helped. I'm wondering if sometimes the answer could be to take them right away from their present situation, to give them space and time to find new and better ways of coping with life rather than withdrawing. Do you think that life in the country for a few weeks or months could be one answer? Maybe a chance to learn new things in a new environment? I would be interested to hear what otherss think.

By Yuko Kubota on Sunday, June 26, 2005 - 11:41 am:

Hi Lorraine,

You have to state your definition of "hikikomori." Usually, hikikomori means people who are hikikomotteiru, which means that they literally can't even make one step out of their house or even out of their own room. You can try to put them in a new environment ONCE they get out of their hikikomori situation.

In any case, these kind of problems seem to be different on every person. So while some things work on one person, it doesn't to another.

In Japan, there are volunteers like what they usually call Mental Friends (mind that the Japanese "mental" and English "mental" has a different nuance) who are generally college students who had experienced similar situations. They can come to a teenager's room and talk about everyday things over the door until the teenager opens up.

My 13 year old son is not hikikomori but has been futoko for the last 6 months, which means he refuses to go to school. In his case, he has been strongly refusing to see Mental Friends, or to go to what they call Free Spaces where other fotoko kids gather, or to see any person who are the likes of counselors.

Our school counselor kept on saying to me that there are options like going abroad. I know it worked for many kids including the counselor's son, but I don't know why she kept on insisting that so many times when I repeatedly told her that my son has traveled overseas many times, yet doesn't really like it, and that his interest is to go back to his original school and not some place else.

In my son's case, his favorite teacher made visits to our house eventually letting him open up. Things like family trips and a tour in his father's office worked and he went to one school field trip. From the very beginning, he has been playing with his classmates, has no problem associating with the general society, and I have a specialist I talk to, so we're not too worried about him. But he just can't go into the school premises although he wants to, and if that's the place he ultimately wants to go, I'm doing my best to support him. Our plan for the moment is to let him participate in a 3 day school program outside the school premises.

But I would be interested in hearing about what other countries are doing for people like this. I know that in Japan it's more of a phenomenon, but I'm sure there are people all over the world having problems going out of their room or going into their schools or workplaces.

Again though, it is different on every person, of course.

On a related note, I have the impression that most hikikomori people are quite often those who had no obvious problems in their earlier life.

By Lorraine Zinnack on Monday, June 27, 2005 - 6:52 am:

Dear Yuko,
Thank you for sharing about your son and what you are doing for him.
I've heard of a few instances here in Australia, but mostly as a Japanese phenomenon. I always thought of Japanese children as being well-behaved and compliant, so when I first heard about futoko and hikikomori I was very surprised.
Do parents usually get some warning in the months before that their child is unhappy or not coping with school? If there are signs beforehand that the child is heading for problems, perhaps this would be the time to let him go to alternative schooling or the countryside for a change, before the problem becomes too bad. Do you think this would help? How can I find out more about futoko and hikikomori - are there organisations you know about?

By Yuko Kubota on Monday, June 27, 2005 - 12:15 pm:

Dear Lorraine,

I'm not sure if I understand what you mean, but I hope this answers your questions in one way or another.

> I always thought of Japanese children as being
> well-behaved and compliant, so when I
> first heard about futoko and hikikomori I was very surprised.

Japanese children aren't and have not been at all especially well-behaved or compliant when compared to children of other countries. Although things like futoko and hikikomori is a new phenomenon, we always had our fair share of well-behaved and compliant children, punks, geeks, the bullies and those who are bullied. On a related note, punks can go to school and annoy the class or go out to game archades and do all the illeglal stuff they can get away with. But those who don't have the energy to do that, locks themselves in their rooms, I suppose. The media tells us that a lot of people who had been successful students for years suddenly becomes hikikomori once they face failure.

> Do parents usually get some warning in the months before
> that their child is unhappy or not coping with school?

Of course, teachers have the duty to inform guardians (usually parents) if a student is having any problems. They don't hesitate to come to the student's home either. And most parents think it's important to exchange information with other guardians especially those of children who are playing with yours. But in real life, like in any country, it is often hard to tell if a child is having serious problems or not.

> If there are signs beforehand that the child is heading for
> problems, perhaps this would be the time to let him go to
> alternative schooling or the countryside for a change,
> before the problem becomes too bad.

Like in any country, there are play groups and seasonal camps which are the likes of YMCA. Fliers are distributed to students via their school from time to time. Children are free to change their school if they have a good reason. The countryside is always right out there, an hour or two from central Tokyo. Any child, with or without a problem is free to go to all these places.

> Do you think this would help?

It might, it might not. It has at times, it has not at times.

In my son's case, he always loved school and said it was the best school year of his life, then one day out of the blue he stopped going and no one could move him. But he still loves school even after that. We have a second house in the countryside. He never was interested in going to off-school camps or playgroups or other schools.

> How can I find out more about futoko and hikikomori -
> are there organisations you know about?

I think you can find out a lot just by searching the keywords on the internet. If you can read Japanese, the following is the best link I know on futoko, although I'm not keen on hikikomori.

Actually, specialists say (and I agree) that, like there are many reasons for dropping out, there isn't only one solution. It's not like if you send a child to the countryside, the child changes overnight. At the end of the day, it's the child or any person him/herself that has to solve the problem in his/her mind. In other words, futoko or hikikomori is often a stage in their life that they need to go through in order to find themselves.

By Yuko Kubota on Monday, June 27, 2005 - 1:05 pm:


I just noticed from your profile that you're a teacher who also accepts farmstay.

You seem to be already accepting students in general to your farm, but if you are interested in spreading the word to organizations that specialise in futoko children, you can try contacting them. Some back up from authorities will help provide you a good reputation. I wonder if your school can help you on that.

There are farm stay facilities in Japan as well, but Australian farm stay is another great option. Actually a couple of Japanese friends stayed at a farm in Australia on their honeymoon.

By Lorraine Zinnack on Thursday, June 30, 2005 - 11:54 am:

Dear Yuko,
I teach conversational English, crafts and a number of life-skills privately at our Farmstay here in Kangaroo Island, Australia.
Most of my students are Japanese who want to be completely immersed in English, so I've not had the need to speak more than a few words of the language and cannot read it. If you know of any helpful contact addresses, especially email addresses, I'd be most appreciative.

By Yuko Kubota on Saturday, July 2, 2005 - 10:47 am:

Dear Lorraine,

The previous link is something I just keep for future reference, and there is no organization that I personally know enough to recommend to anyone. But if you can be specific, I can look it up for you. For example name one city and what type of organization you need (from boarding schools, correspondence schools, double schools, support schools, Univ. Extrance Qualification Exam support schools, vocational high schools, schools with organizations abroad, free schools & alternative schools, live-in type free schools, support schools). Or an easier way might be to show the vast link to one of your Japanese students and have sections interpreted face to face.

Otherwise, you can try contacting the Ministry of Education, where most of the organizations on the link finally deals with in one way or another.
The Ministry's email address is as follows;
Of course, you can always contact your local Japanese Embassy.

By Lorraine Zinnack on Sunday, July 3, 2005 - 8:07 am:

Dear Yuko,
Thank you for the contact for the Ministry of Education in English. I'd tried looking for the Ministry before by myself, but only came up with information in Japanese.
When my next student arrives, I will do as you suggest. In the meantime I need to look for ways to contact schools, universities and organisations to let them know about me. Unfortunately in the past when I've emailed schools I'd found addresses for, no-one replied. Maybe because I wrote in English and they found it too difficult, or thought my letter was junk mail.

I'd appreciate suggestions from you, or any others who read this, of effective ways of letting potential students know about me.
So many young people come to Australia and attend language schools for months, yet go home with their English very little improved. A few have afterwards found their way to our Farmstay, and tell me they've learnt far more from me - and enjoyed it far more - in a few weeks here than in months in language schools.
In the cities students tend to stick with their own ethnic groups, attending classes together and speaking their own language all the time. Often the only English they use is the few hours each day in school, and even there they talk to one another in their own language - they might just as well have stayed home and gone to English classes in Japan.
When they come to me they hear ONLY English, are taught one-on-one instead of in groups, and the activities I organise help them to consolidate and remember the English they are learning at the time.
Any helpful suggestions anyone can make or contacts give me would be very much appreciated.

By Yuko Kubota on Sunday, July 3, 2005 - 4:14 pm:

Dear Lorraine,

As for advertising, I've suffered the same experience, but the other way around. I used to organize a non-profitable international exchange group in my district, but it was difficult to find how and where we can get through to non-Japanese-speaking residents so that they can learn about us.

Again, a good way was to get in touch with authorities so that they can back us up while making it easier to put our names on public bulletins.

Otherwise, as you probably know, the best way to advertise non-profitable organizations is by word of mouth. An idea is to let your Japanese students translate your flyers (or even your website), let other Japanese students check if the translations are accurate and appealing, and let them bring back flyers to their schools. Hopefully the flyers will stay in the teachers' minds along with the good reputation the students bring back from their experience.

The problem with non-profitable organizations like the one I was involved in is that people don't know who we are. So we had to rely on our users to spread our good reputation.

By Lorraine Zinnack on Tuesday, July 5, 2005 - 4:26 am:

Dear Yuko,
Letting the right people know about us can be frustrating at times, especially when you're only a small organization or group. Once more people know it begins to get easier, but can still be a slow, slow process! Again, thanks for your suggestions.
By the way, as an English teacher, may I offer a correction? Please don't feel offended, I just want to be helpful. "Non-profitable" is used when talking about something which is intended to make a profit but doesn't, "a non-profit organization" is one which is not set up to make profit.
Warm regards, Lorraine Zinnack, Kangaroo Island Farmstay Adventure

By Yuko Kubota on Tuesday, July 5, 2005 - 5:57 am:

Thanks Lorraine for clearing me up about the big difference between "non-profitable" and "non-profit"! I'll definitely keep that in mind.

By Admin on Friday, August 19, 2005 - 10:10 pm:

Autism Spectrum Disorder Workshop, Tokyo, September 17-18, 2005 (English and Japanese)
conducted by staff members of Autism Partnership (
Workshop Presenters: Dr. B.J. Freeman, Dr. Ronald Leaf, Dr. John McEachin, Toby Mountjoy, Richard Schroeder

* Identifying Effective Treatments for Autism
* ABA in the Treatment of Autism
* Behavior Management for Parents and Professionals, and
* Teaching Language Skills to Autistic Children
Japanese translation provided

Rates: Professionals = 1day:Y8,500, 2 days: Y15,000
Family Member/Student = 1day: Y7,500, 2 days: 12,500
Above rates are per person and include an o-bento box for each day. Deadline: September 10, 2005

For further information (hard brochure available), please contact: Joli Knott, Japan Services, Director for AP, at
03-5423-0736 joli[at]

By Shintaro Kuboi on Thursday, October 13, 2005 - 7:48 am:

Violin Lessons for Children with Developmental Disabilities:
My name is Shintaro Kuboi. I have been giving violin lessons to Japanese children with developmental disabilities for the last 10 years. I would like to offer lessons to children who come from foreign countries (Tokyo area).
If you are interested in my lessons, please log on my website.
E-mail: kuboi-0058[at]
Thank you.

By Cali on Sunday, December 11, 2005 - 7:36 am:

Tokyo International Learning Community provides comprehensive collaborative
educational and therapeutic services to children and young adults (ages 3 to 21)
with special needs. TILC also offers early intervention home services to children from 6 weeks of age. TILC has wonderful news - we are moving to a new location
on December 19th! Please find our new address below and check out our website
over the coming months for updates. The move will occur over the winter break to avoid any interruption in services to the students we serve. If you have any
questions or are interested in more information, please contact us! Have a lovely holiday season.
New Address: 2-51-7 Tama-cho, Fuchu-shi, Tokyo, 183-0002
Email address: Website address:

By Cali on Friday, February 3, 2006 - 9:47 am:

Tokyo International Learning Community, located near the ASIJ Chofu campus, is currently accepting applications for students. TILC is an international, English-speaking school for children with special needs. Our school-based program offers collaborative, comprehensive, individualized educational and therapeutic services for special needs children ages 3 to 21. We have recently relocated, updated equipment and materials and are extremely excited about the program we provide. If you are interested in learning more about our services, would like to request an application, or schedule a visit, please contact me.

New Address: 2-51-7 Tama-cho, Fuchu-shi, Tokyo, 183-0002
Email address: tilc[at]
Website address:
Phone: 042-401-0585, Fax: 042-401-0588
Thank you, Cali Gregory
School Administrator

By Admin on Tuesday, January 30, 2007 - 3:49 pm:

TELL Exceptional Parents Group
Educational Workshop for Families of Children with Exceptional Needs
by Tokyo English Life Line Community Counseling Service

We welcome you to our workshop on "Raising a son with Asperger Syndrome"
Presented by Sylvia Hohenthaner, M.A.; Teacher at International School and Mother
Date: Friday, February 16, 2006
Registration 10 a.m. to 10:30 a.m.
Presentation 10:30 a.m. to noon
'Sharing' noon to 12:30 p.m.
Admission: Free
Location: Minami Aoyama Conference Room next to TELL office
Address: 5-4-22 Minami Aoyama, Minato-ku, Tokyo 107-0062
Phone: 03-3498-0231

By Admin on Tuesday, February 13, 2007 - 1:58 pm:

Late correction on "special needs" and "international schools" pages:
The web site for Tokyo International Learning Community changed and they had some problems getting the old site to transfer people over to the new site smoothly.
Old site:
New site:

By Kris_thiesen on Tuesday, July 10, 2007 - 9:19 pm:

Behavioral Specialist Available

In-home behavioral consultant/therapist available. Specializing in Applied Behavioral Analysis (ABA) along with a Masters in Counsleing I work with a variety of different children with special needs as well as typical children in behavior management; reducing probelm behaviors and increasing positive behaviors. I also work on areas such as increasing language and functional communication as well as teaching appropriate social skills. If you have any questions or are interested in more information please feel free to contact Kris at abatokyo [at]

By Admin on Thursday, November 15, 2007 - 9:30 am:

TELL Exceptional Parenting Program
Friday, November 30 Workshop
Date: Friday, November 30, 2007
Registration 10:00am to 10:30am
Presentation 10:30am to noon
Information sharing noon to 12:30pm
Admission: Free but RSVP PLEASE
Location: Minami Aoyama Conference Room next to TELL office
Address: 5-4-22 Minami Aoyama, Minato-ku, Tokyo 107-0062
Tel: 03-3498-0231

Educational Workshop for Families of Children with Diverse Needs by Tokyo English Life Line Community Counseling Service
We welcome you to our workshop on "Post-secondary Transition Planning and Assessment"
Presented by Debbie P. Ashton, M.Ed.Special Education Coordinator, Dept. of Defense Dependents Schools (DoDDS), Japan District Superintendent’s Office

Speech and Language Pathologist Debbie Ashton has worked as a Speech and Language Pathologist for DoDDS since 1996. Currently she is responsible for overseeing the special education programs in 11 of the 21 schools in the Japan district. She also serves as the district liaison to the school nurses, guidance counselors and school psychologists. “The objective of transition planning is to prepare students to move from high school to the adult world. This presentation will introduce parents to informal assessment inventories and activities that can be used to guide the development of effective transition plans for their children. We will also explore post-secondary educational, vocational and financial services available to students with disabilities in the US.” - D. Ashton

If you would like to have more information on the Exceptional Parenting Program or would like to attend the workshops, please contact Birgit Zorb-Serizawa at tellparentgroup[at]

Birgit Birgit Zorb-Serizawa, M.A.Director, Exceptional Parenting Program, TELL Community Counseling Services

By Alp_law on Tuesday, January 29, 2008 - 9:08 am:

Hi all,

My name is Lacie and I am a law student currently living in Baltimore, MD, USA. I am working with a project called the Autism Legislation Project, an organization thats goal is to provide information about the resources available to people affected by autism.

I was assigned to research Autism in Japan. As you might imagine the language barrier has been somewhat of a difficulty, although I have found a lot of useful information in English from this site. I am having trouble finding information about Adult Care that is available to those suffering from disabilities. I am also having trouble finding information about what, if any, government funding is available for needed services for those suffering from disabilities.

If anyone has any information, even links to websites, on any of these topics I would greatly appreciate the help! Also, feel free to email me directly if you would like (

By Sandy on Wednesday, March 5, 2008 - 3:37 pm:

"How Well Do You Know Your Teen" Tuesday, March 11, 9:00-10:30a.m. American School in Japan (ASIJ) Ricketson Theater
that's Sean Covey doing the speaking I think (author of books on teen success)

By Admin on Thursday, May 1, 2008 - 2:03 pm:

TELL Exceptional Parenting Program
Educational Workshop for Families of Children with Diverse Needs
by Tokyo English Life Line Outreach Programs

We welcome you to our workshop on 'Stress and Stress management in exceptional families"
Presented by Vickie Skorji, TELL Assistant Director of Life Line Services
Vickie Skorji, Bachelor of Behavioral Sciences, has a background in neuropsychology and is the mother of a teenage son with Asperger Syndrome.

“Parenting is a big job under any set of conditions, and if you have a child who needs extra help or treatment of some kind it can be very, very time consuming and tiring. Stress is an inevitable part of life when your child has a learning disability or developmental delay, from getting an accurate diagnosis, dealing with any behavioral challenges, finding support services and dealing with the school system, just to name a few. This presentation will talk about some of the stresses associated with caring for a child with special needs, its effect on the family, and some practical tips to help cope with stress.” ~ V. Skorji

Date - Friday, May 16, 2008
Registration - 10:00am to 10:30am
Presentation - 10:30am to noon
Information sharing - noon to 12:30pm
Admission: Free BUT RSVP PLEASE
Location: Minami Aoyama Conference Room next to TELL office
Address: 5-4-22 Minami Aoyama, Minato-ku, Tokyo 107-0062
Phone: 03-3498-0231

If you would like to have more information on the Exceptional Parenting Program or would like to attend the workshops, please contact Birgit Zorb-Serizawa at

By Admin on Saturday, November 19, 2011 - 1:22 pm:

[TOKYO] Exceptional Parents EVENT Dec. 6

Understanding Your Children and Teens: Tips and Strategies Provided by Child and Family Experts

The Embassy of Canada has kindly offered their space and the opportunity to host special TELL Exceptional Parenting event. A panel of five specialists from TELL Counseling Center will speak about a variety of issues regarding children and teens that every parent and teacher should know about.

Helping support a child with learning differences through the educational system --Vickie Skorji, Masters in Counseling

Are angry kids really angry? What to know, how to help. --Chie Sawa, Ed.S, LMHC

Is this an eating disorder or some fad: when to worry, what to do. --Aska Aoshima, Ed.M, LMSW

Teens, drugs, and alcohol: when to worry, what to do --Machi Taniguchi, MA, LMHC

Tips and skills to help teens improve organization and attention --Eriko Kobayashi, Ph.D

Date: Tuesday, December 6, 2011
Time: 17:30-19:30
Location: Embassy of Canada
7-3-38 Akasaka, Minato-ku, Tokyo 107-8503

Free of charge but an RSVP is REQUIRED by 5pm on 12/1/2011

Please reply to Chie Sawa, EPP Coordinator, if you would like to sign up for the event or have any inquiries at Please do not contact the Embassy regarding registration or questions about the event.

-Other Announcement-
We are looking for a few volunteers for the EPP. If you are interested, please let me know.

For information about the 16th Annual Connoisseurs' Event, please go to our website.

By Kurz on Wednesday, April 11, 2012 - 1:25 am:

[TOKYO] Events
1. Exceptional Parenting Workshop
Title: Speech and Language Pathologists: What, Where, Who, When, and Why〜Answers to all of your questions about who we are and what we do〜
Presenter: Marsha Rosenberg
Date: Wednesday, 4/11 from 10:00am-12:00pm
Place: Wesley Center, Seminar room
Language: English
Contact person: Chie Sawa at

2. Talk by Takanao TODO
This talk is NOT part of Exceptional Parenting Program Workshop. Please contact Eiko TODO at if you have any questions.
Lecture: My dyslexic life by Takanao TODO (The author of the book)
Date: Saturday, 4/14 from 14 to 17
Place: Minato Human Plaza
Fee: 2000 yen with book, 1000yen for those who have the book, 500yen for students and under
Language: JAPANESE
Contact person: Eiko TODO at 090-6502-4102
「DX型 ディスレクシアな僕の人生」出版記念講演会

3. Exceptional Parenting Program and Speak Up for Kids Global Campaign
EPP is participating in Speak Up for Kids, an annual public education campaign during National Children's Health Awareness Week (May 6-12, 2012) by hosting a Speak Up for Kids talk.
Title: Is It Depression or Teen Angst?
Presenter: Fran Duckworth, LMHC, TELL Children and Families
Date: Friday, May 11, 2012, 10:00am-12:00pm
Place: Wesley Center 2F, Seminar Room
Cost: FREE

Add a Message

This is a private posting area. Only registered users and moderators may post messages here.