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considering trip with special needs adult 2021/3/3 05:56
Younger kiddo, in her 20's, who is physically able but functions developmentally at the level of a 6 to 10 year old (and is not dysmorphic - looks pretty and "pretty normal" at first glance) has a dream of visiting Japan. Probably Tokyo, very "driven" in her liking of anime and manga. Because of a college account maturing, there is likely enough for a good 5 to 7 day visit for two adults, she and one of us (me or her dad.)

Considering this being post-lock-down...

The questions are a little complex - we both have full legal guardianship over her, and would be travelling with the usual folder of guardianship paperwork showing this, in case (unlikely) of any medical emergencies. She's very physically healthy, no outstanding medical issues.

Culturally, how much problem would there be? How is autism viewed in Japan?
Would we encounter any legal problems based on behaviors in case of a tantrum?
If in case of a tantrum we had to get a little physical (arms around her, guiding her to outside any establishment) would this be seen as a reason to get the law involved? How would our court ordered guardianship be considered?
Is it recommended that we address these questions to our nearest Japanese embassy?
Any input would be appreciated. I haven't brought this up with her yet.
by strongmom (guest)  

Re: considering trip with special needs adult 2021/3/3 10:15
I donft know much about this issue and Ifm sure someone will jump in and provide good answers. Just realize that Japan also has autistic people, so the situation isnft unique. Learning the phrase gshefs autistich in Japanese can help. But like I said, others can chime in. I just wanted you to ease your concerns. Itfll be okay.
by .... (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: considering trip with special needs adult 2021/3/3 10:29
Autism and developmental disorders in adults are coming to be more widely known in Japan, with some getting diagnosed for the first time as adults as having learning (or other) difficulty and only then finding out why they struggled so much in school, or why they have had difficulty working in a certain work place, for example, and there are care that the employers can (and should) take if their employees are diagnosed to have these disorders.

Tantrums: In Japan, the police rarely gets involved in family matters (which could lead to disasters in cases such as with domestic violence or child abuse, but), which should cause you no concern in your case. Unless things get really violent-looking (your physical intervention in case of tantrum is seen as too physical, or just in case the tantrum happens to involve others – letfs say other guests in a mall, etc.), there will be no police intervention. Of course seeing that it is obviously a non-Japanese family having difficulty, some people gmighth try to ask you if they can help, or gmighth call security in a mall for example – simply because they donft know what to do and have no way to help by themselves – but that is all I can imagine.

Preparing some phrase cards ready in Japanese to show (and picking up a few words in Japanese) in case any tantrum happens would help. Also knowing how she reacts to excitement and/or totally different environment from the one shefs used to would help – of course a trip to Japan is supposed to be such a great excitement for her! Best wishes.
by AK rate this post as useful

Re: considering trip with special needs adult 2021/3/3 10:33
I've seen an adult with special needs in the middle of an episode being more or less dragged by the guardian/minder through Shinjuku station in full view of everyone. You will be okay if it's obvious that the person in question has special needs and not that they are a mentally able (sorry if this is a politically incorrect term, I genuinely don't know what to use here?) adult being manhandled against their will.

With regards to learning Japanese phrases, the problem is that a lot of Japanese people essentially speak no English that they are able to use in a real conversation, so if you speak no/little Japanese then it is unlikely that you will be able to understand any response regardless of how many phrases you memorise. I know a disabled traveller who speaks no language other than English. They print and carry an information card written in Japanese. It says:

1. That they can only communicate in English, no Japanese.
2. Details of their condition.
3. What to do in an emergency.
4. Contact details for hotel/embassy/family member.

They have said to me that it gives them all the peace of mind they need.

Anyway, people in Japan have all kinds of disabilities just like any other country. People with learning difficulties, mental disabilities, and physical disabilities seem to get on fairly well, all things considered. I'm sure many of them enjoy domestic and even international tourism. If you plan well and come equipped for any difficulties that she encounters regularly then there should be no reason you can't give her a great trip. I don't think there is any need to contact the Japanese embassy about this unless you have any really specific and difficult questions. Though you might consider talking to the airline you book with if you think a long-haul flight is likely to be challenging for her. They may be able to make some adjustments or at the very least alert the cabin crew of what to expect.
by LIZ (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: considering trip with special needs adult 2021/3/3 13:16
I have seen many ASD people in Japan. Most of the population will look the other way and ignore.

I see no reason to not plan your trip within the boundries needed for travel with your daughter.
by H (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: considering trip with special needs adult 2021/3/3 13:17
Just for your reference, Accessible Japan now seem to have an on-line forum, too.
https://www.accessible-japan.com/
by Uco rate this post as useful

Re: considering trip with special needs adult 2021/3/3 14:13
Thank you everyone! One of my concerns goes back to the 1990's and early 2000's when significant autism disorders weren't terribly accepted here in the US, and my positive/negative experiences here both in PA and in CA were about 50/50 good/bad. I know different cultures have different attitudes, and it sounds like Japan isn't a bad choice as a couple of tourists. I have a friend in the country there who's fluent, and I can ask him for help with info cards - when she was little I used PECS cards to communicate with her before she was functionally verbal, and I can feel comfortable with a similar approach for this language difference too. Any further info is welcome, but I feel good knowing this is a possible adventure once the virus situation settles down. Thanks again!
by strongmom (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: considering trip with special needs adult 2021/3/3 21:32
What wonderful parents your daughter has that provides her with an opportunity to experience the world. You will both enjoy the sights, sounds and smells of a fantastic country. Your daughter will have a great time. There is a saying "see the person, not the disability." The world would be a better place if more parents were like you. As the Nike people say- Just Do It!
by couldabeen rate this post as useful

Re: considering trip with special needs adult 2021/3/3 23:29
You are great parents! And you should go with your daughter to Japan. I found Japan to be one of the best acessible countries to visit (there's signs everywhere, good pedestrian streets, people are also very polite). You won't have any problem at all. As for tantrums, there's no reason to worry, just do what you must do. I felt that Japanese people don't feel comfortable in approaching foreigners (most probably because of their lack of conversational english).

I did have a great time with the locals because I know some Japanese (but beware something, you have to be specific about your Japanese cards or else Japanese people will speak and ask you something in Japanese which you will not understand). I had that experience, I spoke in Japanese, and they thought I was fluent, and it was...crazy...I had to apologize in Japanese and explain that my level of Japanese is okay-ish, not at fluent level (they understood, but most people continued to speak in Japanese regardless xD, it was an unique experience which I will never forget, and I made many random Japanese friends despite being a female solo traveler).

Also, is your daughter okay with crowds? If you consider going to Tokyo, then you must go prepared for crowds and crowds of people. Perhaps, your daughter will find it fascinating, but there are people who get surprised in a "bad way" (it can be too overwhelming).

Other than that, don't worry. I bet you and your daughter will have a great time in Japan. ;)
by Sophia (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: considering trip with special needs adult 2021/3/4 06:54
A couple of comments:
First, we have had a couple of guests with various stages of autism on our trips that I recall. One was a teenager who was really quiet, and the other a young adult (around 24 I think) and most of the time things went pretty smoothly. There were a couple of occasions where they were agitated by the situations they were in, but nothing too unusual. They and their families were certainly able to enjoy their visits to Japan.
Second, as others have mentioned, Japan has its own population of people with mental illness and disabilities. Near to my house is a center (workshop) that caters to several dozen and I see them regularly - usually at the end of the day when they head home/to the train station. Some have dedicated carers, others by themselves. They are certainly noticeable in their behaviour, but people let them go about their business and leave them alone.
I would not think that you would have any more trouble/issues here than many other countries.
by JapanCustomTours rate this post as useful

Re: considering trip with special needs adult 2021/3/4 07:01
Thank you everyone! One of my concerns goes back to the 1990's and early 2000's when significant autism disorders weren't terribly accepted here in the US, and my positive/negative experiences here both in PA and in CA were about 50/50 good/bad. I know different cultures have different attitudes, and it sounds like Japan isn't a bad choice as a couple of tourists. I have a friend in the country there who's fluent, and I can ask him for help with info cards - when she was little I used PECS cards to communicate with her before she was functionally verbal, and I can feel comfortable with a similar approach for this language difference too. Any further info is welcome, but I feel good knowing this is a possible adventure once the virus situation settles down. Thanks again!
by strongmom (guest) rate this post as useful

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