Admer and His Story

Admer is diagnosed with Tourette Syndrome who joined a writing contest in McDonalds Philippines, where he is currently working as a service crew. Fortunately, he won the writing contest. He wrote about his life with Tourette Syndrome and here is his piece:

"I’m Admer Barata from Mendez, Cavite. 24 years old. I have a disorder called Tourrette’s Syndrome and started working as a service Crew in McDonalds Tagaytay Taal at the age of 17.I’ve been working there for 6 years now. Before I applied in McDonald’s, there are questions and doubts that run through my mind such as:

Am I ready to work with other people in an environment more mature and different from school? How will I explain to them what I am going through? Will they understand me? How will other treat me knowing my disorder?

Tourette Syndrome is a Neurological disorder that causes involuntary and or unintentional movements or speaking called TICS. I was diagnosed with this disorder when I was in my 1st year in High School. I am taking medicine that helps me lessen my TICS. Unfortunately, there is no cure for Tourette’s Syndrome and I am one of those people who will carry it for life. It is unpopular and very rare disorder. I’ve been straight forward about my disorder during my interview in McDonalds. I told my manager everything about TS that they should know. McDonald’s has been considerate and accepted my application as long as my medical tests would show that I am fit to work. And it’s been my first ever work! It’s an opportunity for me to work here in McDonald’s for it is known globally as one of the top food-chains. Passing my application gave me confidence despite my long time fear that I will never find a good job because of TS. Being hired gave me a different outlook and challenged me to push myself more to keep these work. McDonald’s changed my life both mentally and emotionally, and financially as well. As a self supporting, my work helped me to sustain my continued medication, which is not easy. My medicine, regular checkup as well as my personal expenses cost more.

At my first year at work, my workmates gradually notice my involuntary movements (nodding, facial twitching and sniffing).It’s not easy. I’ve always been a laughingstock at work because of these. There are times that someone will embarrass me in front of other crews or bullies me during or out of work. But I didn’t fight them back or treat them bad in return. There are a few times may be when the bullying is too much and won’t stop till the end of my duty. But I didn’t give up, and will never be. I know that they tend to discriminate me because they know only a little if not totally unfamiliar of Tourette Syndrome. So little by little I explained to them what Tourette Syndrome is. They’ve been open-minded to people like me. They even feel pity for me at times when my TICS are attacking or when I’m running out of medicine. I gain strength, respect, and support from them, most things I need having Tourette Syndrome.

I do not just work for money and fun. I gain friends and knowledge every day. I learned things that can’t be taught in school and cannot be learned at home. While on duty I become more flexible associating from my workmates and managers to the costumers. I’m able to practice to separate my personal life from my work to be productive on duty. The good quality training the company gives to its employees made me effective on my stations and to be flexible. I learned a lot from it. I become more resourceful on duty, able to do multiple tasks at a time and give good service to the customers without compromising the quality of the products and the company. But at times I can’t please other people though I gave my best foot forward. Things sometimes are out of my hand and complains are being charged against me. On situation like these, I try to apply remedy by talking politely to the customers, apologizing and try to give them exactly what they are asking for. But if it won’t work I ask for the assistance of my workmates especially the managers. Made me wiser each time, reminds me to follow standard procedures and have a presence of mind to avoid conflicts with the customers or with fellow crews. Trainings and FUSOC still helps even though I’ve been to the company for 6 years. Made me effective crew on high peaks season or even on an ordinary day. Good relationship with fellow crews can lessen the pressure on duty whether its graveyard or morning-shift and whatever the station is. Learned to treat people fairly whoever they are and whatever their status in the society is. My experience for six years made me work with beginners nicely. I know they feel as I was as nervous and as clueless as them when I myself was a beginner. I give them a hand when they need to and teach them things they must know generously. Work is a big help for persons like me with TS. It is important to have things that would keep me busy and focused to lessen my TICS and to temporarily forget my disorder and be just like everybody else. My hard work has been rewarded when I was chosen to be the crew of the month for a several times and now as a candidate for crew chief. It inspired me to work more hard.

McDonald’s has been the way for me to meet for the first time a person with the same disorder. One of my co-workers knows him and introduced us. Even my managers supported me fully. Our management team helped me ask permission from the Head Office to shoot in McDonald’s for a documentary for a local TV station. The permission of the head office helped me a lot. The public was informed about Tourette Syndrome. Even the costumers recognized me and admired me for my strength. It’s very heart-warming to get commendations from them because it only shows that they appreciate me for what I am and what I have. My McDonald’s family has been helping me in so many ways. McDonald’s did not look at in a way that most people do. I’ve been accepted and treated as one of the members of its family. I’ve been given opportunities that I am thankful for. McDonald’s is my second family. There are people in that place that are very close to my heart.

They say there’s no harm in dreaming high. So I am hoping that one day, having learned a lot and proven myself at work, I would be a member of the management team. I would like to expand my knowledge and enhance my skills in McDonald’s. I am also one of the Advocates of our organization, Philippine Tourrette’s Syndrome Associaton (PTSA).I want to be an example to every individual with or without TS. I know that every day, each of us goes to different challenges in a society that tends to belittle people with disorders. Discrimination and bullies are always round the corner. I want to inform people that disorders and disabilities is not a hindrance to have a happy and normal life. My disorder is not a burden in my work. It humbles me and McDonald’s is just right here to open opportunities to people like me. And I won’t give them any excuses not excel more in this work. Again, this is Admer Barata and this is my Love to Make a Differennce Story.


A Mother's Note About his Son Who Has Tourettes

the last time i wrote about his tourette syndrome was more than a year present, since classes started or even during summer vacation, his tics were rarely noticeable. t'was only during the lst week of classes maybe because of new excitement and pressure of going back to studying and meeting new people, new teachers etc. but as a whole until today, i can say that his tics are very minimal. his big brother teased him that he misses his tics. and just like every night that comes, i remind him to pray. i used to tell him that we pray to the Lord to remove his tics in His time but if it is Thy will, He gives us strength to accept it. i tell him that God has a reason why He gave him t.s. and it is not for us to ask why. what is important and we are thankful for  is He gave us the gift of life. He gave us so many blessings in life like his intelligence esp. in Math which many are having a problem at. i always tell my kids to share their knowledge to others esp. to those who are having problems with it. give free tutorials to your classmates and teach them well.

he just finished his 100 tabs. of magnesium and i plan to give him polynerve syrup next month. he said that he can't see any difference when he was taking them and now that he has not. anyway, i'll try the polynerve coz it is just like a vitamin for the nerves.

i continue to pray for him and for all the members of my family that we may all be united in supporting john j with this disorder. i suppose it helps a lot that he is in a small group where bullies are less to find. they are only 20+ in the room and the school has a population of less than 200 in high school. he is very active in whatever activity they have and i encourage him to join always. i am very glad his classmates are very supportive of him. he says there are a few who teases him but he says it's ok coz they are his friends.

he rides the ferryboat  when he goes to school and so he can relax there unlike in the jeepney, you are all cramped together and everyone stares when your body makes a movement. in the ferryboat, he can gaze at the sea while listening to his ipod. nobody stares at you and everyone seems busy with whatever they are doing like chatting usually with their companion. i suppose this has helped a lot too now that he's commuting thru the ferryboat and not the jeepn ey. he enjoys the ride a lot now he wants to be a seaman like hi dad.

whenever i mention some people who are still in the denial stage of acceptance, Ely butts in saying...yes, just like your husband before. i just tell him it's ok you're over it and i am happy that you have accepted the truth. he  loves his kids so much and it pains him a lot to know that jj has t.s. everytime he calls, he always asks about his t.s. and how it is. he's a lot happier now that i tell him that they are very minimal and hardly noticeable nowadays. i remind him though that tics may come and go so we just have to be ready and accept what the future has in store for his t.s. what is truly important is we have john j and we love him very much with or without his t.s.---mardi (a mother who has a son with tourette syndrome)


Badong, a Taxi Driver with Tourette Syndrome in "Wish Ko Lang"

Badong, played by the actor John Fair, is a taxi driver with Tourette Syndrome
who has a daughter with a severe illness. How can he manage the situation while 
struggling with Tourette Syndrome this touching short episode about Tourette Syndrome in "Wish Ko Lang",GMA Channel 7. The actor was coached by the two of  the members (Alec Loteria and Aileen Pacia) of the Philippine Tourette Syndrome Association.
(video courtesy of WKL)