Student with Tourette Syndrome sings to make the tics disappear

2016-02-25 09:58

WATCH: Pretoria student uses singing to manage Tourette tics

2016-02-25 10:36

Radlyn Naidoo is a young University of Pretoria student who suffers from Tourette Syndrome. But when he sings - and he sings beautifully - the symptoms disappear. Watch.WATCH

Johannesburg Radlyn Naidoo is a young University of Pretoria student who suffers from Tourette Syndrome. But when he sings - and he sings beautifully - the symptoms disappear.

The 19-year-old student gave people a glimpse into the world of a Tourette Syndrome sufferer when a video he posted quickly went viral. Watch here:

The brave move by the former Merebank resident captured the hearts of many as he emotionally explained the effects of Tourette Syndrome and then showcased his vocal talents.

Naidoo said music is his escape mechanism and for some reason helps him not to twitch. The neurological disorder is characterised by repetitive, involuntary movements called tics and sometimes vulgar and obscene outbursts. Naidoo is able to control the tics when he sings.

“My tics surfaced at the age of 9 when my parents divorced, and due to growing up in an Indian family and culture, I was told, ‘mind over matter’ when I said to my parents that I could not control my tics. Nobody had believed me until my tics escalated to the point where I couldn't function properly,” Naidoo said.

Stares in public

Just before turning 13 he was diagnosed with Tourette Syndrome.

The second year BCom Informatics student said a typical day involved dealing with stares in public and being asked, “What’s wrong with you?" or told to “stop that”.

“I tend to dislocate my left wrist about four to five times a day when in lectures and the scary part is that I am left handed. Some days when my head tics are bad, my shoulders are blue and bruised due to my chin hitting against them constantly.

"It can be tough to focus in class and get sufficient rest because I have obsessive compulsive disorder, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, as well as severe insomnia. But my days are manageable through the grace of God.” 

A phenomenal support structure also helped. Naidoo said his family and friends tried to make his life as convenient and comfortable as possible.  

Offensive generalisation

“Especially my mother. She is more than just that, she is my best friend.”

While a symptom of Tourette Syndrome does include involuntary outbursts, Naidoo said this was an offensive generalisation and assumption.

“The symptom of vulgar and obscene outbursts is called coprolalia and only 10% or less of the world's TS patients suffer with that symptom. I am one of them so I tend to be misunderstood quite often because people think that I am an aggressive person, when in fact I am not.”

Having people stare at him can become unbearable. This was another reason he posted his video on Facebook, to spread awareness about the disorder.

“I want to show others who have it that it is okay to embrace what God has given you in your walk of life, as well as to revive the culture of empathy and unity amongst our generation.”

- Health24: Tourette Syndrome

Read more on:    pretoria  |  health

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