Parenting

'Hilarious' Teen With Tourette's Tries to Read a Nursery Rhyme—and It's NSFW

**Language Warning**

This is one of those things we’re not supposed to laugh at, right? Indeed, there’s nothing funny about Tourette Syndrome, a disorder characterized by tics—involuntary, repetitive movements and vocalizations. But 17-year-old Lewis “Qball” Nickell invites us into his world as he tries to read “Three Blind Mice” and he asks us to laugh along with him as he struggles to push out the simple words of the nursery rhyme while the involuntary tics send profanities gushing from his lips and he repeatedly hits himself in the head.

Nickell, who hails from Belfast, Northern Ireland, uploaded the video to YouTube and gave it the title “Qball reads a kids rhyme! Hilarious!” which gives us some insight into his upbeat attitude about the disabling condition. In fact, he smiles throughout the video and laughs at his frequent profane outbursts, even though it’s obvious that reciting the simple rhyme was a grueling task for him.

Last year on “Nolan Live,” Nickell told Stephen Nolan—painfully and with many interruptions—what it’s like living with Tourette’s. “For me, at the start, it was terrifying more than anything else,” he said. Nickell explained that the condition started about 18 months ago with a twitch in his right shoulder. He was hospitalized and “given the best drugs of my life,” he said. When he awoke, the twitch hadn’t gone away but instead had spread to his left shoulder and then to his legs. Two weeks into his hospital stay the verbal tics started.

At first Nickell, who competed in kickboxing and jiu jitsu before his diagnosis, was afraid to leave the house. In fact, he hardly left home for the first four months. But eventually he said, “You know, I can’t do it like this anymore.”

He started putting videos on YouTube to help people understand the condition and thought “a couple people from East Belfast” would see them. The next thing he knew, they were going viral and now he’s he’s an internet sensation with over 100 million views to his video channel.

Find out why Nickell is making these videos on the next page.

Nickell explains the more serious side of Tourette Syndrome in another video:

“I know I kind of treat what I’ve got as a kind of a joke, alright? I bring the funny side, but that’s the way I cope with it.” He said that he wants people to realize that Tourette Syndrome is a serious brain disorder. “I elbow things, I smash things, I hurt myself all the time.” He also can’t do a lot of the things he used to do. For example, he’ll never be able to drive. “As funny as that would be, I’ll never be able to do it,” he quipped. He also doesn’t attend the birthday parties of his nieces and nephews because of the Tourette’s.

“I never meant for it to be a joke and I never will mean for it to be a joke. I mean for it to spread awareness. To spread awareness in a positive way, so some people maybe do see the funny side of it, but there is a serious side that needs to be noticed a lot more.”

Watch the video below to see how difficult it is for him to travel by plane with tics causing him to shout inappropriate things like “I’m a drug mule!” and “Bomb!” It gives you a sense of how exhausting it must be to have to constantly fight the involuntary tics and to deal with the inevitable embarrassment that comes when those around him don’t understand his condition.