Dr. Kiyo Kitahara Musashino Higashi Gakuen
2-1-10 Midoricho
Musashino, Tokyo  180-0012
0422-52-2211 (Country code:81)
0422-53-1090 (Fax.)

Dr. Kiyo Kitahara
The founder

Dr. Kiyo Kitahara Autism


In English

"Within every living child exists its most precious bud of self-identity.
To search this out and foster it with loving care; 
that is the essence of education of the autistic child."
- Dr. Kiyo Kitahara (1925-1989)

A Brief Glimpse into the Life of Dr. Kiyo Kitahara

In 1925 Kiyo Kitahara was born in Nikko, Japan, where nature was abundant with beautiful water and majestic mountains.

Kiyo was born to a gentle mother and a father who earned his living as an engineer at a copper refinery, but whose first love was composing Haiku poetry.  Kiyo helped with her brothers and sisters from an early age, since her mother was often sick.

At the age of fifteen, she began to work at the nearby elementary school.   One year later, she passed the national eligibility test and became a teacher.   This was considered an extraordinary achievement because of her young age. (left: Kitahara at the age of 16, right: Kitahara with her students in Nikko, Japan)

Kiyo's passion for teaching soared, especially when she had students who could not succeed in the classes.
  She went to the students' homes to teach whenever there was a need, since she felt so responsible for them.  She blamed herself if some of her little students failed to learn.  Because there was no special education, her classes also included handicapped students, whom she taught and cared for without discrimination.

At the age of twenty-six Kiyo came to Tokyo planning to study art, as she dreamed of becoming an artist.  Instead, she taught at an elementary school during the day and went to a university to study law at night.  She absorbed what she learned with great zeal.

Kiyo then married Katsuhei Kitahara and became the wife of a factory owner, raising three children.

In 1964, Kiyo Kitahara and her husband decided to close the factory and establish a kindergarten, because they knew there was a great need and because she was eager to teach children again. 

As principal, Kiyo found a boy with very strange behaviors among the children who applied for the kindergarten.  She knew nothing about his problem, but why refuse his entry?  She saw that his eyes were as clear as the sky and she wanted to help him.  This was the beginning of her encounter with "autistic" children, as she later learned they were called.  Her struggle to help this child began by trial and error.  She brought him home out of sympathy for his mother, who had spent many sleepless nights.  Kiyo spent days and nights with him trying to understand him and learning how to help him.  As news of her acceptance of "problem" children spread, other children were brought to her by their weary mothers.  She never refused them, and loved, cared for and taught them as diligently as she did the typical children.  Out of her struggle, her love, hope and confidence, she created an educational method for autistic children, later named Daily Life Therapy.

Her method, Daily Life Therapy, was recognized by Bowling Green State University, Ohio and Kiyo Kitahara was awarded an Honorary Doctorate of Pedagogy degree in 1980.  She lectured and gave presentations at national conferences.  As her reputation spread, many parents of autistic children in the United States wished to send their children to Tokyo.  In 1984, she started the International Class, where under her guidance, young devoted teachers taught and cared for children from overseas, from the Philippines, Korea, Taiwan, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Ireland, Yugoslavia as well as the United States.

With the enthusiastic support of parents, as well as professionals, and the authorization of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, Dr. Kitahara opened the Boston Higashi School in 1987, in Lexington, Massachusetts.  Her passion was paramount.   In spite of her ailing body, she crossed the Pacific Ocean many times a year.   The Boston Higashi children thrived.

She asked for no rest.  She sought no comfort for herself.

Dr. Kitahara's dream continues through the hard work of her trusted executives, administrators and devoted staff. 

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