Disability Services

Developmental Disorders

Recently it is said that the number of persons with developmental disorders has been increased. Although the cause of these disorders is not mentioned here, the number of students with developmental disorders in higher education in Japan is also increasing. Not a few students have difficulties with processing information (e.g., difficulties in registering for classes, understanding the notices, scheduling, memorizing the procedure for experiments) and social communication (e.g., difficulties in expressing the feeling, cooperating with others and understanding others’ intention or feeling). “Developmental Disorders” is categorized in “Neurodevelopmental Disorders” according to the DSM-5, the Fifth Edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (APA, 2013). “Developmental Disorders” includes Intellectual Disabilities, Communication Disorders, Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), Attention-Deficit/ Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), Specific Learning Disorder (SLD), Motor Disorders and other Neurodevelopmental disorders. Students with Communication Disability, ASD, ADHD and SLD seems to be more apparent in higher educational institutions. The more diversification students at higher educational institutes have, the more students with various types of disabilities can be admitted in the near future. Here are characteristics of developmental disorders that are more apparent in higher education institutes.

Communication Disorders
Persons with communication Disorders have difficulties with the social use of verbal and nonverbal communications. Some students with communication disorders find it hard to greet others or to share information with others. They also have problems in conversations in appropriate manners: they are not able to talk differently to classmates than teachers, take turns in conversation, and understand what is not explicitly stated and ambiguous meaning of language (e.g. metaphors).


Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD)
Students with ASD have difficulties in social communications and social interactions across multiple contexts. They have similar difficulties in communicating with others mentioned in Communication Disorders. They also have difficulties in reading between lines, responding during the social interactions, have no concern with associates and have few friends. Stereotyped or repetitive behavior, so-called “persistency” may appear in their behavior.
Although Autisms, Asperger Disorders and High-Functioning Autisms had been classified in Pervasive Developmental Disorders, they are now included in “Autisms Spectrum Disorder” in the DSM-5.


Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)
Attention-Deficit/ Hyperactivity Disorder is characterized by Inattention and Hyperactivity or Impulsivity. Some students with ADHD have difficulties in arranging schedule or in handling tasks efficiently in learning. ADHD is categorized into three types: Inattentive type, Hyperactivity or Impulsivity type, and Combination type. a. Inattentive type: This type of students often leave or lost things necessary for tasks or activities, cannot keep promises, have poor time management, difficulties in keeping belongings in order. b. Hyperactive-impulsive type: Those students are likely to talk one-sidedly about their own matters, likely to be restless, often unable to listen to others, often make inappropriate remarks without forethought.


Specific Learning Disorder
Specific Learning Disorders is a development disorder with some problems in learning and/or academic skills, not better accounted for by intellectual disabilities. Some students with specific learning disorders have difficulties reading; Some have difficulties spelling; the other have difficulties mastering calculation. Some students have multiple difficulties. A impairment in reading is called “Dyslexia”. Students with Dyslexia have difficulties with word recognition, conversion of written languages into sound, and reading comprehension.



The Office for Students with Disabilities (OSD) has given appropriate advices such as about usage of schedule-organizing soft wares, academic concerns and scheduling of part-time jobs. The OSD and academic staff in student’s department share the information about students with communication disabilities with their consent.

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