The number of truant elementary and lower secondary school students in Japan may be as high as 120,000, and measures to manage these students are in place, such as the provision of school counselors. Numerous research papers on truancy have been published; however, little information is available on truant students at schools for special needs education, because few studies have been conducted on truancy and methods for supporting truant students at such schools. In this study, we conducted a questionnaire survey on truant students and invited the participation of all schools for special needs education (intellectual disabilities: ID) (which comprise the majority of all schools for special needs education in Japan). The percentage of schools with truant students tends to be smaller for schools for special needs education (ID) than for ordinary elementary and lower secondary schools. However, the percentage of truant students is higher at schools for special needs education (ID). The study shows that the causes of truancy at schools for special needs education (ID) are different from those at ordinary elementary and lower secondary schools; moreover, schools for special needs education (ID) typically have insufficient coordinated, in-school support mechanisms for truant students. These results suggest that truancy at schools for special needs education (ID) is different than at ordinary schools, and this paper discusses the need to study the reality of the truancy of individual students and effective methods for providing needed support.
Several studies have been conducted on the prevalence of selective mutism. However, the subjects and methods differ between these studies, and no unified perspective has been achieved. The purpose of this study was to conduct a systematic investigation by school type and grade level of children with selective mutism enrolled in kindergarten, elementary school, and lower secondary school in Japan and to evaluate the prevalence of selective mutism. The overall enrollment rate for children with selective mutism, in a total of 73 public kindergartens and elementary and lower secondary schools was found to be 0.21%, with more female than male students (male-to-female ratio=1 : 2.1). The enrollment rate by school type was the highest for kindergarten (0.66%) and slightly decreased for the higher stages of education. The percentage of schools where any children with selective mutism were enrolled (called the school enrollment rate) was 39.7% for all schools and gradually increased from kindergarten to lower secondary school (at 46.7%). In this study, the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders Fifth Edition diagnostic criteria for selective mutism were employed, and schoolteachers determined selective mutism based on the criteria. The school enrollment rate obtained in this study supports the results of other studies and provides new insights into selective mutism. The limitations of this study include an insufficient number of samples and a failure to ensure adequate interpretive skill on the part of the respondents.
Most individuals with intellectual disabilities (ID) have difficulty learning languages. Several studies have reported that mental imagery can be a powerful tool for supporting word learning in individuals with ID. This study investigated the effect of presenting drawings in an associative word-learning task and assessed how memorization could be facilitated in adolescents with ID. In Study 1, 10 adolescents with ID and 30 normally developing children completed an associative word-learning task under articulatory-suppression and control conditions. The adolescents with ID tended to have more difficulty learning familiar word pairs than the children in fifth grade. In Study 2, five adolescents with ID participated; this procedure was similar to that of Study 1, except that two methods of presenting drawings were used before an associative word-learning task. The interactive means of presentation of the drawings facilitated memorization; thus, the interactive means of the presentation was more effective than the separate presentation. We suggested that drawings affect the activation of mental images to facilitate the memorization of word pairs.
The global incidence of school refusal behavior among school-age individuals has increased dramatically. However, until now, relatively little attention has been paid to school-refusing individuals who have comorbid diagnoses of intellectual disability [ID]. To improve the understanding of school refusal behavior within individuals with ID and comorbid disorders, this paper presents a brief review of the literature on school refusal behavior and the status of our current understanding of this behavior among school-age students with ID and comorbid disorders. Ten studies are included in this review and are summarized in terms of (a) the participants’ characteristics (number, age, diagnosis, IQ), (b) therapeutic interventions (treatment, duration and frequency, implementer, setting), (c) target behaviors, and (d) outcomes. All 10 studies reported improvements in school refusal behaviors and other related symptoms in school-age individuals with ID and comorbid disorders. Further studies should be conducted to investigate whether a certain type of intervention approach can be established as an empirically supported treatment for school refusal behaviors in individuals with ID and comorbid disorders.