Support and Education for ADHD and LD Children in Japan

The 2017 Conference will be held at the Conference Centre, Sea World Resort, Gold Coast, Queensland from Monday 21 August – Wednesday 23 August 2017.

Mika Nishiyama, Associate Professor for Hiroshima Bunkyo Women's University joins us this year to discuss “Support and education for ADHD and LD children in Japan”.

A government survey in 2012 showed that 6.5% of elementary and secondary schools students were found to have significant learning or behaviour problems. Although requiring special education they were enrolled in regular classes. The total number of students enrolled in public elementary and secondary schools was 83750. The number of students with ADHD was 12213 (14.6%), LD’s 12006 (14.3%). In 2006, the government began collecting data and the number of children with ADHD and LD’s increasing annually. Kindergarten children were not included in this data. University Education for those wishing to attain a teaching license does not require the study of special needs. Teachers in elementary schools must choose to study, via the occasional seminar, if they wish to better understand the specific needs of ADHD and LD students.

In 2005, the "Act on Support for Persons with Developmental Disabilities" was introduced. Three years later, it was decided that schools will prepare a long-term support plan for each child with developmental disabilities in the course of study guidelines.

In 2015, the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications; Administrative Evaluation Bureau researched 116 schools to clarify the current status of support for children with developmental disabilities. Result showed that more than half of them did not prepare support plans and conceded that sufficient support was not being made available.

The support plan is for the school to discuss with the children and their guardian, and to concretely decide and review the policy of support. These plans are designed to follow on to the next school or transfer. However, there were cases that led to “bullying” and “truancy” because there were no plans in place and continued support was not provided.

Essentially, there is a lack of understanding of the importance of the support plan in schools.

In January of 2017, the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications (MIC) has a policy to make recommendations for improving the situation of children to the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology (MEXT), and the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare.

The education system in Japan is very complex with regular classes also acting to support students with ADHD and LD. However, teachers are not formally trained to deal with special needs students so the level of support is very poor. In 2012 a government report showed that many students were left undiagnosed but clearly had leaning and behavioural problem which is serving to compound the situation. There are not enough educational or medical specialists within a system that relies heavily on educational volunteers. Without significant changes at government policy level, the situation is predicted to get even worse with teachers, children and their families finding it more difficult to cope.

For the full list of registration inclusions for this year's conference, please visit the registration page.

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