On the 10th of September, BBC 3 broadcast a show entitled 'Tourette's: Let Me Entertain You". Episode one is only available at the moment, but more will be available soon so keep your eyes peeled!
watching, I knew nothing of Tourette syndrome (TS) or how it can affect
individuals. On the show, Reggie Yates (Radio 1 DJ) goes on a quest to
find individuals who are affected by Tourette's but who also have
musical talent. The programme introduces the viewer to Ruth, Steve and
Greg who all experience both verbal and physical 'tics'. According to
Tourette's Action, tics are involuntary and uncontrollable sounds and
movements. Interestingly, Ruth highlights that 90 percent of people with
TS do not swear uncontrollably (the technical term is 'coprolalia')
which is interesting because I imagine this is what most people would
normally associate with Tourette's. I'll admit that I did before
watching the programme!
The programme introduces a further
three individuals, all of whom are teenagers and also experience
Tourette's. Jake, Emily and Tom all experience TS differently. For
example, Emily will involuntary collapse and is unable to suppress her
ticks. Jake, on the other hand, has the ability to suppress his tics
whilst in school, but upon returning home has a very intense period of
tics because of the suppression during the school day.
the people on the show provide a very honest depiction of how Tourette's
has affected their lives and the coping strategies they implement in
order to try to control their tics. A recurring theme (I'm pleased to
say!) is engaging in meaningful occupations. And as jargon-y and
professional that may sound, it's a very strong theme throughout the
show. For example Greg, 18, roller skates and explains that when he is
wearing his skates, his tics are almost non-existent. As soon as they
are removed they act as almost a psychological trigger and his tics come
back. He explains how he drums and how this has a similar affect. I
found it fascinating to watch on the programme, because to hear him
speak and to see him when he is wearing his skates is so very different
to when he isn’t wearing them.
Ruth was explaining how TS
makes social life difficult. When she is on a bus somewhere and her tics
become very noticeable, she finds that strangers on the bus almost
group together and in her words, “unite in hostility”. This highlights
the ignorance towards this condition and how difficult it can make
day-to-day activities. Ruth sings, and when asked by Reggie what she
feels from getting a round of applause following a performance, she
explains how she feels a sense of affirmation, worth and that she
belongs within society. I thought this was a really great way to
highlight how important it is to do things in life that are meaningful
because they really can benefit your wellbeing.
think it is a really good watch, and there are more episodes coming, so
if you have some spare time it is worth a watch!
From an OT
perspective, I found a little slideshow which gives a brief
explanation of how OTs can work with individuals who experience
Tourette's but the link doesn't seem to be working, so I'll try and post it at a later date.
You can watch the programme using this link: http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b01mqvr7/Tourettes_Let_Me_Entertain_You_Episode_1/