The trainings with persons with intellectual disability inside the Erasmus + Project Judo4All started in September with short trainings (50 minutes every training) initially to get to know us, but especially to get used to the activities and trainings.
The partners from Romania (Asociatia Judeteana de Judo Mehedinti) started in a separate group where 8 children, teenagers, trained with 2 trainings per week (Wednesday and Thursday). The training was for adaptation to effort and development of coordination through various games, relays and Ukemi-Waza (school of falling from Judo).
It was a good period where progress was seen on the part of all the participants. This good period was about a month and a half, after which it happened that out of 8 children, teenagers (most of them with problems related to autism) stopped attending training. In fact they are dependant on their parents, it was the main reason they came together in the trainings. Still, by the time, they could find the time to attend, so the children started to be on their own, slowly integrating into the groups.
Currently, there are 5 children and adolescents with intellectual problems (autism, ADHD), of which 3 are optimal to participate in a special Judo competition because they come every day to train in the groups of ordinary children and even did amazing progress.
They have days when they don’t accept the training program and prefer to play with each other, but they also have days when they cooperate perfectly with the training program adapted to them.
In the beginning, the parents attended the training, but because these children and teenagers have adapted and integrated into the group, the parents just bring them to the training and come at the end of the training.
Looking at their technical progress about Judo, I can say that it is acceptable and it is not easy even for a child with regular development to progress technically, but especially for a child with intellectual problems.
We use the training time to the maximum without rushing or forcing the progress of the athletes and certainly our athletes with intellectual problems will be prepared to face the training camp and the following competitions in 2023.
There it will be a period of learning Judo techniques and belt exams in December , then training camp in February and all these starts will be beneficial in the development and progress of athletes with intellectual disabilities so that in June there will be a celebration for everyone when they will climb the podium at the Struga International Tournament.
This article is written by Lena Sterea, judo couch and representative from the Romanian partner organization within Judo4All project.