Special Education in Japan

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In this section, we will discuss special education in Japan. Let's get to know the system and see if it's in line with the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.

Our opinion

illustrated by Yorari

■Special Education

 "Special Needs Education", Japan's education policy for children with disabilities is defined as follows. (Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology notice, "Promotion of Special Needs Education (Notice)," April 2007)

 Special Needs Education is appropriate teaching and necessary supports for improving or conquering difficulties of livelihood and learning with enhancing the capacity of the student with disabilities through grasping their  educational needs  from the viewpoint of supporting proactive activity for their independence and social participation  

Simply put,

special education in Japan is to

  •  understand the educational needs of each disabled student, 

  • enhance his/her ability

  • provide appropriate guidance and necessary support for him/her

 so that he/she can improve or overcome difficulties in life and learning.This system is conducted from the perspective of supporting the independent efforts and social participation of young children and students with disabilities.

■Types   

Special support education has the following four forms.

(Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology website, "2. Current status of special support education")

1. Special School

A school that provides education equivalent to kindergarten, elementary school, junior high school, or high school to young children and students with disabilities, and also provides them with the knowledge and skills necessary to overcome difficulties in learning or living due to disabilities and to live an independent life as well.

 

【eligible type of disabilities】

 Visual impairment, hearing impairment, intellectual disability, physical disability, health-impaired

2. Special Class

Special Support Class are:

Classes set up in elementary schools, junior high schools, etc. for students with the following disabilities.  Classes are designed to help them overcome difficulties in learning or living due to their disabilities.

 

【eligible type of disabilities】

 intellectual disability, physical disability, health-impaired, partially sightedness, hard of hearing, communication disorder, autism, emotional disorder

 3. “tsu-kyu”(very restrictive resource room )

This is a form of special instruction  is provided according to the disabilities of students who are enrolled in regular classes at elementary schools, junior high schools, and senior high schools, and who are generally able to participate in their studies in regular classes but require special instruction.

【eligible type of disabilities】

communication disorder, autism, emotional disorder, partially sightedness, hard of hearing, Learning Disorder, Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder, physical disability, health-impaired

 

​4. regular class

 Students with disabilities are also enrolled in elementary school, junior high school, and high school, etc.  Classes are based on the regular education curriculum while giving consideration to individual disabilities.o can study the regular curriculum.

 

In each type, they are taking efforts that reduce the number of students in a classroom and hold interactive activities.  

■self-reliance activities

(sort of educational rehabilitation & habilitation)

In special support education, "self-reliance activities" is essential.

Self-reliance activities are the latter part of the above definition, "to give knowledge and skills necessary to overcome difficulties in learning or living due to disabilities and to achieve independence.

 Specifically, the Education Ministry Guideline defines it as follows:

Teaching that develops necessary knowledge, skills, attitude, habit for improving or conquering proactively difficulties of livelihood and learning because of disabilities with an aim at student’s independence.

 

Independent Activity constitutes six elements.

  •  maintaining health

  • psychological stability

  • forming relationships

  • understanding the environment

  • physical movement

  • communication.