Our History

Dr. Kitahara with a student from the international divisionOur history begins in 1964 when Dr. Kiyo Kitahara established the Musashino Higashi Kindergarten in Tokyo, Japan. Her now well-known method for educating children with autism, Daily Life Therapy®, emerged naturally from her experience teaching a child with autism who was enrolled in her regular kindergarten class. Word of her success with this child and with others quickly spread, and in 1973, the Ministry of Education in Japan honored the Musashino Higashi School with the designation as the research organization for autism.     

In 1977, Dr. Kitahara established the Musashino Higashi Elementary School, and in 1983, established a junior high school. In 1984, with an increasing demand from families across the globe, she opened the first International Division to accommodate foreign students, including many Americans. In 1986, Dr. Kitahara opened the Musashino Higashi Specialized High School to teach older students with autism important vocational skills.

Dr. Kitahara with her beloved students
Dr. Kitahara was invited to the United States to share information about her approach. In September 1987, with the support and approval of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, she opened the Boston Higashi School with students from across the United States as well as many other countries. In 1988, Dr. Kitahara was awarded the prestigious Avon Award as Woman of the Year for her many contributions toward improving the lives of children. 

Dr. Kitahara passed away in January 1989, leaving a legacy that promotes the further understanding of autism. Through the successful educational methodology of Daily Life Therapy®, we continue to carry out Dr. Kitahara’s dream.

Visit the Musashino Higashi School Website