(English) Neurodiversity Salon #1

(English) Neurodiversity Salon #1

Opening Possibilities for Children, Parenting & Society

April 24, 2022 - 10:00-12:00JST

※ Hybrid event, admission FREE (pre-registration required via Peatix).

According to the CDC and Japanese studies, approximately 3% of children in the US and Japan are autistic. A growing neurodiversity movement driven initially by parents in the US has made individualized educational support for children available and supported by government funding. While awareness is increasing in Japan, awareness and support are further behind Japan.

In addition to traditional therapies to assist autistic children in gaining helpful skills, a new movement led by the US in play-based development and learning is showing excellent outcomes. The movement is spreading to the rest of the world with professionals providing this model in over 70 countries. This play-based developmental movement focuses on connecting with and amplifying the autistic child's passions in order to increase their ability to understand and regulate emotions, behaviors, and thoughts. The intent is to increase the child's curiosity and drive. The child develops, through play, an interest in and ability to connect with others and creates increasing interest in peer activities and learning. The child will develop the ability to learn the most needed skills with less structure than traditional therapies.

This focus on play and developing intrinsic motivations is consistent with many progressive educational movements such as Reggio Emilia, project-based learning and connected learning.

Rizuki Matsumoto is from Machi No Hoiku, an organization that operates nursery schools and kindergartens in Japan. They represent Reggio Emilia in Japan. Together with Joi Ito, Director of the Chiba Institute of Technology, they are developing a hybrid school focusing on bringing best practices from a broad range of learning methods for autistic and neurotypical children. The goal is to increase awareness of neurodiversity and draw from a wide range of approaches to design a school for special needs and neurotypical children and develop a network of interested parents, teachers, and therapists.

We will conduct a series of Neurodiversity salons as part of this effort. We have invited Jeff Guenzel, the CEO of the International Council on Development and Learning (ICDL), the premier teaching and training institution for Floortime, for the first salon.

*The event will be held in English and Japanese with simultaneous translation.


  • Joichi Ito, Director of the Center for Radical Transformation at Chiba Institute of Technology
  • Rizuki Matsumoto, Natural Smile Japan, Inc.
  • Jeff Guenzel, CEO of the International Council on Development and Learning (ICDL)

Admission: Free. Pre-Registration required via Peatix.

Event Format: Hybrid. Available both Online (Zoom Webinar) and On-site*.

On-site Location: Digital Garage Conference Hall "Dragon Gate"

18F Shibuya Parco DG Building, 15-1 Udagawacho, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo

Hosted by: Neurodiversity Salon

Supported by: Digital Garage, Inc., Natural Smile Japan, Inc., Machino Research Institute, Inc.

* This event will be held with precautionary measures against COVID-19. Also, in case of unavoidable circumstances, some content and speakers may be changed. We thank you for your understanding.