Child Rearing Handbook 
“+Happy – The Seeds of Happiness”

Translated by
Tetsuya & Suzanne Saito
Chisato Saida
Mikako Hirano

This handbook will serve as a Boshi Techou (Mother and Child Handbook) for children with Down syndrome, containing the information specially selected to help calm and positive parenting.


For the family

Congratulations on the birth of your baby!
This booklet was created by those who have gone through similar experiences as you.
We would like you, the parent of a child with Down syndrome, to take your first steps forward with confidence.
If you are able to take the initial steps, you will find that moving forward isn’t as difficult.  We know that you are worried, but it will be ok.  Children with Down syndrome grow up to be strong and kindhearted people.
Those of us who are raising children with Down syndrome are leading very happy lives.
Once again, it is going to be ok.  Please try to enjoy parenting your new baby.

Life is a series of continuous miracles.
Please remember that your baby is here with you because of these miracles.
And again…
Congratulations on the birth of your baby!!


How can I raise a child with Down syndrome?

This handbook will help the parents of children with Down syndrome to enjoy parenting and the children to live happy lives, covering roughly all the necessary information about parenting of children with Down syndrome.

“What is Ryouiku?”  “Can I return to work?”  “I’m interested in joining Oya No Kai, but …”  “How are other parents raising their kids?”  “How do children with Down syndrome develop?”  These would be some of the very first questions after having a child with Down syndrome and the answers to them are in this handbook. Children with Down syndrome develop at a slower pace and we can record our kids’ development in the latter parts of this handbook.

A Message from an Experienced Mom

by Emily Perl Kingsley

I am often asked to describe the experience of raising a child with a disability – to try to help people who have not shared that unique experience to understand it, to imagine how it would feel. It’s like this…
When you’re going to have a baby, it’s like planning a fabulous vacation trip – to Italy. You buy a bunch of guidebooks and make wonderful plans. The Coliseum. The Michelangelo David. The gondolas in Venice. You may learn some handy phrases in Italian. It’s all very exciting.

After months of eager anticipation, the day finally arrives. You pack your bags and off you go. Several hours later, the plane lands. The stewardess comes in and says, “Welcome to Holland.” “Holland?!?” you say. “What do you mean Holland?? I signed up for Italy! I’m supposed to be in Italy. All my life I’ve dreamed of going to Italy.”
But there’s been a change in the flight plan. They’ve landed in Holland and there you must stay. The important thing is they haven’t taken you to a horrible, disgusting, filthy place full of pestilence, famine and disease. It’s just a different place.

So you must go out and buy new guidebooks. And you must learn a whole new language. And you will meet a whole new group of people you never would have met. It’s just a different place. It’s slower-paced than Italy, less flashy than Italy. But after you’ve been there for a while and you catch your breath, you look around…and you begin to notice Holland has windmills…and Holland has tulips. Holland even has Rembrandts
But everyone you know is busy coming and going from Italy…and they’re all bragging about what a wonderful time they had there. And for the rest of your life, you will say, “Yes, that’s where I was supposed to go. That’s what I had planned.”

And the pain of that will never, ever, ever, ever go away…because the loss of that dream is a very, very significant loss.

But…if you spend your life mourning the fact that you didn’t get to go to Italy, you may never be free to enjoy the very special, the very lovely things…about Holland.



Emily Perl Kingsley worked as a writer on the Sesame Street team for a long time.  Ever since her son was born with Down syndrome in 1974, she has also been working hard to spread awareness about individuals with disabilities.  She wrote “Welcome to Holland” in 1987.  This piece of writing which provides emotional support and tips for new parents continues to be passed down from family to family.

The Japanese version of this passage was introduced in the TV drama called “Kounodori”(original manga: by Yuu Suzunoki) broadcast by TBS (Tokyo Broadcasting System Television, Inc.)


You can download the whole handbook and additional handbook pages as PDF files. (Click Here to find out how to obtain a physical handbook )

Child Rearing Handbook “+Happy The Seeds of Happiness” as PDF files (English version)

The handbook in parts as PDF files

  • Cover picture
  • Foreword
  • Table of Contents
  • For the Family
  • What is Ryouiku in Japan?
  • I want to participate in my neighborhood’s Oya No Kai (Parent Support Group), but the thought of it makes me nervous…
  • Am I going to be able to work again? Is that even possible…?
  • Messages from an Experienced Mom
    Kaoru Tachibana
    A Comic about Yunta and his Growth and Development
  • 「Welcome to Holland 」 b y Emily Perl Kingsley
  • 「A Brave Baby 」 by Kan-chan
  • Messages from Experienced Dads
  • Messages from Siblings
  • Record of your Baby’s Growth and Development
    Record of Height and Weight
  • Medical History
  • Record of Growth and Development / Developmental Milestones
  • Things That Made Me Happy / Words That Left an Impression
  • Questions and Concerns
  • Record of Certifications and School History
  • Record of Agencies Contacted / Contact Information
  • Afterword

Additional pages


Cross-sectional Growth Charts

Cross-sectional Growth Charts for children with Down syndrome (Weights and Heights)
Quoted with permission from “Shinpan Daunshouji No Sodatekata・Sodachikata (New How to Raise Children with Down Syndrome and How They Develop)” supervised by Tadashi Ando and published by Gakken Plus 2002, pp.143-144

The handbooks are distributed in some areas.

Child Rearing Handbooks – “+Happy – The Seeds of Happiness” are available at some municipal offices.  Contact JDS for details.

How to obtain the handbooks

The handbook “+Happy The Seeds of Happiness” (Size B6)
*The handbooks are free of charge, but you must pay the postage -¥140 yen per book.
*One person can obtain one copy of the book as long as it remains in stock.
*If you use the handbook for a reference at a medical institute, please follow the procedure below.

Step 1. Send an e-mail to
For the subject line please type either: “Request for the handbook: member of JDS” or “Request for the handbook: non-member of JDS”  (JDS members are given priority in case of too many requests.)       In the body of the email please include: your full name, contact phone number (day time), JDS membership number (if applicable, it’s on the envelopes from JDS), and your relationship to the person with Down syndrome

Step 2. Send a 140-yen stamp, the shipping address and the recipient’s full name on a piece of paper (10cm×5cm) to the address below.
To: Japan Down Syndrome Society
3-43-11 Minami Otsuka, Toshima-ku, Tokyo 〒170-0005 On the envelope please write, “Request for the Child Rearing Handbook” and ”JDS member” or “Non-member” (in slightly bigger letters).


Request for contribution in order to reprint the handbooks

The handbooks “+Happy The Seeds of Happiness” have been produced with the support of subsidies. 
We ask your kind financial assistance so that we will be able to continue providing the handbooks.  Contact us for details. 
*Japan Down Syndrome Society <JDS> is a Public Interest Incorporated Foundation and the donations to JDS are claimable as tax incentives.  You can receive preferential treatment when you donate, whether as individuals or corporations.

  • Visit the National Tax Agency’s websites about the income tax details.
  • Ask your municipal offices about the resident tax details. 

*JDS has established a code of conduct as a guideline in order to comply with laws and regulations.

Contact the JDS for application for donation.

Details of the handbook

Planning & Production: 21 + Happy (Yurie Sahashi and Yuko Otani)
Binding & Design: Mayumi Sawachi
Title Calligraphy : Saku Matsuda (Born in 2009 / Four years old when she drew this)
Editing: Masako Yamamoto and Kimiko Uehara
Cooperation: Prof. Satoko Nakagome (Department of Health Sciences, Faculty of Medicine, Shinshu University) and Hiroshi Tamai (Osaka Medical University)
Publishing Office:Public Interest Incorporated Foundation (PIIF) Japan Down Syndrome Society
Publishers:Naotake Beppu & Mayumi Mitogawa
Address:  3-43-11 Minami Otsuka, Toshima-ku, Tokyo 〒170-0005


You can download the leaflets as PDF files to be used for publicity or distribution.


Public Interest Incorporated Foundation (PIIF) Japan Down Syndrome Society

3-43-11 Minami Otsuka, Toshima-ku, Tokyo 〒170-0005
Tel: 03-6907-1824
Hours: 9:30-17:30 (Except for weekends and national holidays.  E-mail service is available around the clock.)
May be closed around summer Obon period and New Year holidays