World Autism Acceptance Week 2022

This year, World Autism Acceptance Week is from 28 March to 3 April and will be 60th anniversary year celebrated in helping to create a society that works for autistic people. As we celebrate World Autism Acceptance Week 2022, John Horringan, Head Coach at Bangor University Judo Club, shares how judo has changed his life…

“I was different at school and knew it, no hand eye coordination, could not kick a ball, never picked for team sports just did not fit in.

At 13 years old I took part in a judo lesson at school. The first thing we all learned was how to lose, something I was used to. We then learnt our first throw. That was it, I was hooked the structure of how a throw worked was easy for me. A start of a very long journey. Autism lends many to become engrossed in a subject, they study every little detail, they see what others miss. Another point is that most don't "look up" to others they are alone in their own, so grades or how great someone else is does not matter.

It was a sport where I stood alone, not being picked for a team sport is hard on any child, being small with terrible hand eye coordination I would never be front of the queue. Judo offered a sport where everyone progresses at their own speed, the structure, history, grades all meant continued learning and all this time later I still am.

Autism makes it hard to make friends, what judo offered were friends who had something in common."

Now 45 years later, I am head coach at Bangor University Judo Club, where many members are ASD (we seem to spot each other). In all my time in the sport I have met so many what other people call famous, to me they are just other people that do Judo something we have in common Judo changed my life, now I hope it does for others.”

Learn more about World Autism Acceptance over on the website here.

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