Ann has been a member of Wrekin Star Judo Club since taking part in free sessions offered through Special Olympics Telford and Shropshire’s ‘Taster month’ in September. We talked to Claire, Ann’s mum, about Ann’s journey so far with the club.

‘Our first impressions were that the club was very welcoming, they were great at listening which in itself is a big thing, especially with Ann, as she presents normal until you get to know her, then you see her learning disabilities and the communication skills needed to keep her involved in the activity’

‘She always needs a lot of confirmation that she is doing the right thing, especially with her titanium rods in her back. They gave me the reassurance she could do it, and they listened and took that on board adapting the activities so Ann isn’t ‘thrown’ by others, however she can ‘throw’ others, she LOVED that’.

Wrekin Star Judo offer junior sessions for individuals under the age of 16 along with sessions for adults 16+, which is the group Ann takes part in. Any members with disabilities fully integrate into the clubs mainstream sessions, with extra coaching support available.

Claire has also commented on Ann’s relationship with other members ‘She has really ‘clicked’ with other members there, and enjoys giggling, possibly too much. They have really accepted her as she is. Some of the members are a little unsure sometimes as they don’t want to hurt Ann, but she has really grown in confidence on and off the Judo mats”.

Ann’s involvement in the Judo club has made a considerable impact on her life at home. She has started doing strength exercises at home as recommended by the Judo club. Along with joining in a fitness class another day of the week.

‘She would be sat watching television, or on her tablet. You would never get her to move before, it was really difficult to motivate her, but now she is moving more. She is so excited about going to Judo every Tuesday I hear “Is it time to get ready now?” “What time is it?” “Is it time yet?”’

‘I’ve enjoyed watching her, I don’t go into the hall often as I know I would distract her, she listens more without me being there. Her attention span is still limited, but I can imagine the Judo will help improve that, she’s given steps to repeat and learn which helps her remember.’

Ann follows the same grading system as all members, and has recently taken part in her first grading, which was such a fantastic achievement.

As part of the partnership between Wrekin Star Judo and Special Olympics Telford and Shropshire, Ann along with other Special Olympics participants with the club will be able to take part in Special Olympics competitions across the Country, which are ability focused giving all participants an fair and equal chance at winning Gold!

Ann’s long term goal is to reach the Special Olympics National Games in 2022 in Liverpool. Good luck Ann!!

To read more about Special Olympics click here 

Or for more details, please contact Jessica Lightwood