8-4 Special Needs Education in Resource Rooms

8-4-1 Students with Special Needs Education in Resource Rooms
8-4-2 Education for Students in Resource Rooms
References
8-4-1 Students with Special Needs Education in Resource Rooms

In 1993, the government regulated and institutionalized special education in resource rooms in elementary and middle schools. Children with mild disabilities, such as speech and language disorders, autism, and emotional disturbance are instructed in resource rooms with special aides for certain classes, while enrolling in regular classes. The instruction in resource rooms is to support each student based on his/her disability. When special education in resource rooms officially began in 1993, 12,000 elementary school students and 296 middle school students with mild disabilities used these special needs services in resource rooms (Monbukagakushō 2016c).

Educational support services in resource rooms extended for children with Learning Disability (LD), Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) and High-Functioning Autism (HFA) in 2006 and special needs education for these children formally started in 2007. The number of children in resource rooms increased rapidly from 41,000 in 2006 to 90,000 in 2015 (Figure 8.4.1; Table 8.4.1). It is important to note that children with intellectual disabilities are usually educated in special needs schools or special needs classes, not in resource rooms. In April 2018, high schools started special needs services in resources rooms.

There is no specific criteria for the necessity of special need education in resource rooms. The in-school committee decides it, depending on parents’ wishes and teachers’ suggestions. Therefore, the rate of students supported in resource rooms vary on schools, communities and prefectures.

The majority of elementary school students in resource rooms have been children with speech and language disorders. The number of children with speech and language disorders increased from 10,000 in 1993 to 35,000 in 2015. Since 2006 when children with developmental disabilities (LD, ADHD, and HFA) started to receive educational supports in resource rooms, the number of those children increased from 6,000 in 2006 to 35,000 in 2015 (Figure 8.4.2; Table 8.4.1).

Less than 10,000 middle school students had educational service in resource rooms in 2005, much fewer than in elementary school (81,000). It is because most children with speech and language disorders are cured by the time of middle schools. The majority of children in resource rooms are those with developmental disabilities (LD, ADHD and HFA) and emotional disturbance (Figure 8.4.2; Table 8.4.1).

Table 8.4.1 Number of Students Accessing Resource Rooms in Public Elementary Schools (ES) and Middle Schools (MS): 1993-2015
1993200520062015
ESMSESMSESMSESMS
Speech and language disorders9,6243029,68322429,52718634,908429
Autism----3,56235012,0672,122
Emotional disturbance1,1641735,7641,0722,3655338,8631,757
Low vision999133251281013922
Hard of hearing1,065761,5362801,4952821,691389
Learning disabilities----1,19515610,4742,714
Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder----1,47116012,5542,055
Physical/Motor disability5-4151617
Health impairment68142166117
Total11,96329637,1341,60439,7641,68480,7689,502
(Monbukagakushō 1994; Monbukagakushō 2016a)
Students with Special Needs Services in Resource Rooms in 2015

In 2015, 90,000 students (1% of all students) in public elementary and middle schools received special support services in resource rooms (Monbukagakushō 2016a). The number of students with special support services in resource rooms reached to 81,000 (1.3% of all students) in elementary schools and 9,500 (0.3% of all students) in middle schools. Among 81,000 students in elementary schools, almost half of them (43%) are those with speech and language disorders, and others are diagnosed with ADHD (16%), autism (15%), LD (13%) and emotional disturbance (11%)(Figure 8.4.3; Table 8.4.2).

Much less students have special needs services in resource rooms in middle schools (9,500) than in elementary schools (81,000)(Monbukagakushō 2016a). Children with speech and language disorders make good progress in recovering their disabilities as they get older. Only 5% of students in the resource rooms in middle schools are those with speech and language disorders. The number of children with developmental disabilities has also decreased largely. Many parents do not want their children to stay in resource rooms because they are afraid that their children in resource rooms may be teased and bullied by other students as they get older. Middle school students in resource rooms (9,502) are diagnosed with LD (29%), autism (22%), ADHD (22%) and emotional disturbance (19%)(Figure 8.4.4; Table 8.4.2).

Table 8.4.2 Students in Resource Rooms in Elementary and Middle Schools by Type of Disability in 2015
Elementary schoolMiddle school
Number%Number%
Speech and language disorders34,90843.24294.5
Autism12,06714.92,12222.3
Emotional disturbance8,86311.01,75718.5
Low vision1390.2220.2
Hard of hearing1,6912.13894.1
Learning disabilities10,47413.02,71428.6
Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder12,55415.52,05521.6
Physical/Motor disabilities610.0870.07
Health impairment110.0170.07
Total80,768100.09,502100.0
Teachers5,913986
(Monbukagakushō 2016a)
Children with Autism or Emotional Disturbance

In 1969, special classes for children with autism or emotional disturbance started. In 1970, 487 students with autism or emotional disturbance attended in special classes (Monbukagakushō 1972). Since 1993, children with autism or emotional disturbance have also studied general subjects in regular classrooms, and occasionally take supplementary lessons in resource rooms.

Since 2006, autism, congenital disability has been excluded from the category of emotional disturbance, which is acquired disability. Educational support services in resource rooms have extended for children with High-Functioning Autism (HFA). Children with emotional disturbance may have elective autism, avoid group behavior or social behavior, withdraw from schools/society like “hikikomori” and “the students of non-attendance at school (futōkōsei).”

Since 2009, children with autism are educated differently from children with emotional disturbance. In 2015, children with autism or emotional disturbance in regular elementary and middle schools are taught in special needs classes (90,000) than in resource rooms (25,000)(Table 8.4.3).

Table 8.4.3 Number of Students with Autism or Emotional Disturbance in Resource Rooms and Special Needs Classes in 2006 and 2015
Elementary SchoolMiddle School
Special Needs ClassResource RoomSpecial Needs ClassResource Room
Autism or Emotional DisturbanceAutismEmotional DisturbanceAutism or Emotional DisturbanceAutismEmotional Disturbance
2006 24,5393,5622,3655,927350533
2015 64,38512,0678,86325,7722,1221,757
(Monbukagakushō 2016a)
Children with Developmental Disabilities

Since 2006, special support services in resource rooms have been extended for children with Learning Disability (LD), Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) and High-Functioning Autism (HFA). The number of children with developmental disabilities with special support services in resource rooms increased rapidly by 5.6 times from 6,000 in 2006 to 35,000 in 2015 in elementary schools and by 10 times from 700 in 2006 to 7,000 in 2015 in middle schools. As of 2015, 0.6% of all students in public elementary schools and 0.2% of all students in public middle schools are children with developmental disabilities with special support services in resource rooms (Table 8.4.4).

Table 8.4.4 Students with autism, LD and ADHD in Resource Rooms in Elementary Schools and Middle Schools in 2006 and 2015
20062015
ESMSESMS
Number%Number%
Autism3,56235012,0670.192,1220.07
Learning disabilities (LD)1,19515610,4740.162,7140.09
Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)1,47116012,5540.202,0550.06
Total6,22866635,0950.556,8910.22
Students in all public schools7,068,0003,321,0006,426,0001003,191,000100
(Monbukagakushō 2016a)

LD children are defined as children who have extreme difficulties in hearing, speaking, reading, writing, counting, and reasoning, even though they have average or above average intelligence, modeled on the screening methods for LD children in the United States. Children with learning disabilities are often indistinguishable from children with low educational achievement, “slow learners” without any discernible medical issues that could indicate central nervous system problems (Monbushō 1999).

In 2015, 10,000 LD elementary school students and 3,000 LD middle school students had access to special needs services in resource rooms. LD students consisted of 13% of disabled students access to resource rooms in elementary schools and 29% of those in middle schools. LD students were 4% of all disabled students and 0.1% of all students in elementary and middle schools (Monbukagakushō 2016a). On the other hand, in the US, among children 3 to 21 years old in federally-supported programs for the disabled in 2012 (6,429,000), 35% were children with learning disabilities, consisting of 5% of public school students (NCES 2013).

Students with (Potential) Developmental Disabilities

Homeroom teachers think that more students may have developmental disabilities and need educational supports in resource rooms. In 2012, the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science & Technology (MEXT) conducted a survey to find children “who are in regular class, but could have developmental disabilities (not with intellectual disabilities) and need special needs services” in public elementary and middle schools. It is based on the judgment of homeroom teachers, not by experts of developmental disabilities nor diagnosis by medical doctor.

Homeroom teachers thought that 7% of students (8% of elementary school children and 4% of middle school students; 9% for males and 4% for females) were found significant difficulties in learning (5%), behavior (4%), and both learning and behavior (2%). It is estimated that 5% of students in class would have LD, 3% have ADHD and 1% have autism. At least one kind of support, such as IEP (Individualized Education Program), IESP (Individualized Educational Support Plan) and remedial education, was provided for half of them (55%), but almost all (93%) were not provided special aids in resource rooms (Table 8.4.5).

Table 8.4.5 Children Who Are Found Significant Difficulties in the Aspects of Learning and Behavior in 2012
%
Significant difficulties in the aspect of either learning or behavior6.5
Significant difficulties in the aspect of learning4.5
Significant difficulties in the aspect of behavior3.6
“Inattentive” or “hyperactive-impulsive” problems3.1
Problems of “human relations or obsession”1.1
Significant difficulties in the aspect of both learning and behavior1.6
(Monbukagakushō 2012b)
8-4-2 Education for Students in Resource Rooms

In 2015, 13% of public elementary and middle schools provided special needs services in resource rooms. The resource rooms are divided into the type of disability. Some students may not have a resource room for their disabilities at school. Almost half of them (42,000, 47%) went to another school to attend special instruction in resource rooms (Monbukagakushō 2016c).

In 2015, 90,000 elementary and middle school students received instruction from 7,000 teachers in resource rooms. Teachers took charge of approximately 13 students and instructed them individually. Two thirds of teachers (68%) took care of students with multiple disabilities. Most students studied in resource rooms for one hour (51%) or two hours (31%) a week (Monbukagakushō 2016c).

The “in-school committee” make “individualized education plans (IEP)” and “individualized education support plans (IESP)” for children with disabilities, consulting with their parents and related institutions. The students in resource rooms have two IEPs, one for resource rooms and one for regular classes.

Teachers of resource rooms make a teaching plan for each disabled student, in cooperation with the teachers of regular classes. They teach independent activities based on the Course of Study for students with disabilities and help the subjects the students are in behind in regular classes.

The effects of special aids in the resource rooms to the educational achievement of children with mild disabilities have not been yet determined. However, it is good for children with disabilities and their parents to have a choice to study in resource rooms.

After-School Day Service Center for Children with Disabilities

The Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare (MHLW) established special “after-school day service” centers for children with disabilities in the age of 6-18 in 2012. The centers make an individual service plan for each student. The center of 10 children or less receive 4,730 yen per day for each child and the parents pay 10% of expenses for the center. The center and local governments subsidize the rest. Therefore, as many as 9,600 centers with more than 143,000 students have been established by 2016.

However, because of the lack of strict regulations, there have been many flaws. Forty centers have been prohibited to operate and 53 centers received warnings by 2016. The government finally required social welfare certificates and experiences for the managers and workers of the centers as well as the publication of the results of self-evaluations of the centers (MS January 6, 2017; NHK Web News March 26, 2017)

References

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