Mitsuki Saito is a high school student residing in Tokyo with a wide spectrum of international experiences abroad. Born in Beijing, she loves to speak Chinese and has always had a passion for volunteering and being a part of the community. She has attended events regarding girl’s education in rural china, food loss, youth advocacy, sustainable communities, sex education in Japan, and also is a climate activist. However, recently her compassion has shifted towards special needs education especially for children with severe genetic disorders.
Mitsuki has a sister 4 years younger than her, with Angelman syndrome. Characteristic features of Angelman syndrome are Angelman syndrome causes delayed development, speech impairment, problems with balance, intellectual disability, and seizures.
From a small age, Mitsuki would accompany her sister to the hospital, and as a family, face multiple obstacles in raising her sister. However, Mitsuki did not take action on social issues encompassing children with disabilities or special needs. In fact, she avoided it for a long time. Having a sister with special needs, Mitsuki wanted to be extra careful about how she handled her thoughts and opinions. Nonetheless, her research on Angelman syndrome throughout the years, and the opportunity to publish a paper lead her to realize what a neuroscientific approach could do to improve special needs education.
In 2022, Mitsuki started to study neuroscience through internships at science labs, presenting at conferences, and conducting experiments with professors. Realizing the value of scientific research beyond the laboratory, especially in the field of neuroscience, invigorated Mitsuki to shine more light on neuroscience research to improve special needs education.
It was just a few decades ago that we understood how humans process visual information in the brain, so there is still a long road until more complex matters are fully understood. Mitsuki believes the advancing field of science can elevate teaching and classroom practice that will cultivate a more effective and enjoyable educational experience for children with special needs. There are already papers being published where researchers review the effectiveness of education for students with neurodevelopmental disorders. The research field has attempted to provide teachers with guidance and strategies so they can provide timely instruction in pursuit of improved student academic progress and satisfactory school adjustment (Rodriguez, et al).
She hopes to contribute by contributing to new research findings but also believes shining light on the research findings already been done holds great value for teachers and parents.