A man diagnosed with one of the UK’s most extreme cases of Tourette’s has finally found his dream job.
Ryan, 22, who lives in Berkshire with his boyfriend Charlie, was diagnosed with the condition just a year ago and it became so severe that there were days he couldn’t leave his flat.
He explained in BBC Two’s Employable Me how desperate he was to get back to work after he was forced to drop out of university and lost his job in retail when he had a severe tic episode.
His physical tics became so bad that while the documentary was being filmed he broke his arm after punching and smashing a car window screen.
After help from occupational psychologist, Nancy Doyle, who has made it her aim to help people with disabilities secure employment, Ryan recently began work at an aquatic centre.
Ryan had been told by doctors that his Tourette’s was one of the most extreme cases in the UK. He had only been diagnosed a year ago and had to drop out of university and he lost his job
Desperate to go back to work, Ryan sought guidance from an occupational psychologist who helped him find his passion and secure a job at an aquatic centre
Ryan’s debilitating condition caused him to blurt out swear words and make comments on people’s appearance, which meant that a job in customer service was a huge risk.
However, Ryan’s visit to a specialist job centre, the brainchild of Nancy Doyle, helps him tap into his potential and understand more about what he can offer despite not being able to secure any interviews.
She comments: ‘It frustrates me this narrative that all we need to do to get a job is change ourselves and sometimes that’s not true, sometimes the employers aren’t playing ball.’
Ryan, who often worries about how people will react to his verbal tics, often tries to hold them in even though it causes him pain.
‘If I keep my ticks in it hurts, it feels like fire ants, it’s not a nice feeling.
‘Say your head is a can of pop, if someone shakes it you are going to get that pressure build up until it explodes. That’s when everything spurts out.’
Nancy set up the job centre as part of the BBC Two series and pushed Ryan to follow his passion for turtles, which he said helped him find ‘peace and tranquility’.
After being advised to be honest and upfront about his condition, Ryan attended an interview at a local aquatic centre, after which he was offered a one day trial.
Ryan explained that he often worried about how people would react to his tics, but holding them in caused him pain
Occupational psychologist Nancy (second on the right) advises people with disabilities how they can tap into the job market
He surprised his fellow employees and was warned that his outbursts – which included calling a pair of elderly customers ‘coffin dodgers’ – would normally lead to a disciplinary action.
However, they gave Ryan a second chance when a vacancy later opened and the former student was over the moon.
‘My horizons are a lot bigger than I thought they were. I am over the moon. I am getting employed.
‘To be told my condition is not a big deal, I am beyond happy. I am not going to let my condition beat me.’
Employable Me airs on Monday 27 November at 9pm