I started learning judo with friends at the age of 7, just like any other child and for fun. At that time, my eyesight was fine and it was only three years later that my Stargardts disease was diagnosed and my eyesight degenerated.
As a child with degenerating eyesight, judo gave me a focus and a way to focus my energy. I developed a real determination and the ability to make negative things positive due to my eyesight and judo was an outlet for that drive. I could compete and win at judo no matter what else was going on. The judo club also gave me friends, inspirational role models and support.
I have a little boy who is now walking and is full of energy. He is brilliant and always on the go like all toddlers.
My son likes rolling about on the floor so maybe he will be a gymnast or a judo player. It may be a bit too early to say whether he will learn judo but he knows what he wants so I think he will have lots of determination and do whatever sport or activity he likes well.
Encourage your children to try judo, other sports, music or any activity, no matter what their abilities and talents. When they find the thing they love it will bring them so much more than just the sport or the music they learn.
Ben is a Paralympian Bronze Medallist in Judo.
Ben won Bronze in the under 60kg category in the 2012 London Paralympics having gained 5thplace previously in the 2008 Paralympics in Beijing. His London podium win was despite a knee injury just seven weeks before the games.
Ben is also a double World Champion and a European Champion.
Ben first started Judo at the age of seven and by the time he was 10 he had been diagnosed with a degenerative sight condition that resulted in him having no central vision and only able to see peripherally.
Ben has now retired from judo but is keeping very active. Since the London Paralympics, he got married, became a Dad, earned his degree and ran a couple of marathons!
Blatchington Court Trust is an independent and impartial charity working to promote the educational needs of young vision impaired individuals, under the age of 30, living in East Sussex, West Sussex and Brighton and Hove. Since the Trust was launched in 1995, we've provided a large number of grants to our clients for such things as computer equipment, magnification, sensory equipment and more.