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Blanquerna-URL awarded the "UNESCO ICM Martial Arts Education Prize" with AUTJUDO

October 3, 2022

AUTJUDO is a project focused on transmitting values and fostering the social inclusion of children with autism spectrum disorder through judo

UNESCO, through the International Centre of Martial Arts for Youth Development and Engagement, has awarded the "UNESCO ICM Martial Arts Education Prize" to the project "Adapted Judo for Children with Autistic Spectrum Disorder (AUTJUDO)", from the Blanquerna-URL School of Psychology, Education and Sport Sciences, headed by Dr. José Morales, professor at the School.

AUTJUDO was founded on January 1, 2020, as an Erasmus+ project, and consists of the organization of judo classes adapted for children and pre-adolescents with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). The goal of the project is to encourage social inclusion and equal opportunities through sport, and its current partners are the Universitat Ramon Llull, the Special Needs Judo Foundation (The Netherlands), the University of Genoa (Italy), Judo Assist Ireland (Ireland), the Swedish Judo Federation (Sweden), Judo In Armonia Onlus (Italy) and the Swiss Judo Federation (Switzerland).

During the years in which the project has been developed, very noticeable improvements have been detected in the health and communication of some twenty judokas. There are still very few activities offered for children with ASD, and precisely these are people who need stimulation, as they tend to be introverted. And, as with anyone else, moving your body is key to maintaining your health and well-being and avoiding falling into pathologies such as obesity or diabetes. This award will allow the AUTJUDO project to continue to grow, because, as previously mentioned, the results of the effects on the familial, psychosocial, motor and physical condition have been outstanding.

All this has made AUTJUDO the project deserving of this acknowledgement, which demonstrates our institution's commitment to the educational values and development of young people. The International Centre of Martial Arts for Youth Development and Engagement is the UNESCO-related organization that has awarded AUTJUDO, in addition to the international recognition, with an endowment of $10,000, which will enable it to continue subsidizing the classes, the researchers, the facilities and the dynamics, as well as to extend the project, which was originally scheduled to end on December 31.

The awards ceremony will be held on November 15 in Chungju, South Korea, and Dr. José Morales will attend as a representative of the project and will participate in the International Conference as a speaker.

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