Redbridge teenager making music to help deal with his Tourette’s syndrome

A talented 15-year-old musician, who developed Tourette’s syndrome after his grandfather died, is using music to help build up his confidence and motivate others to do the same.

Akil Yearwood, of Eastern Avenue, Redbridge, has been nominated for the Exchange Ilford-sponsored Recorder/Redbridge Rotary Club Young Citizen Award, by his grandmother Glenda Yearwood.

The Beal High School, Woodford Bridge Road, Redbridge, student plays both the drums and keyboard, which helped him to deal with a number of family deaths and the onset of Tourette’s three years ago.

It is a neurological condition that affects one schoolchild in every hundred, causing them to make involuntary and uncontrollable sounds and movements.

Mrs Yearwood said: “Akil is determined and self-motivated in developing his music skills, and when he plays, his symptoms disappear. Music is like therapy for him.

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“He comes home from school and within no time he starts playing music. He makes his own by printing music, scoring, improvising and self-teaches.”

Akil also plays the steel pans and is a member of the youth band Pantonic Steel Orchestra, in Hackney.

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Mrs Yearwood added: “Akil has been through a lot after the loss of his grandparents and uncle and although the Tourette’s isn’t severe, he had to deal with a lot. He always creates a good atmosphere wherever he goes and his charm and character has helped to motivate others around him.”

Akil said: “It was such a surprise when I found out I had been nominated but I was really happy about it. I like everything about music. It gives me a chance to have my own space and forget about everything else around me.”

The Recorder/Redbridge Rotary Club Young Citizen Award rewards young people aged 25 and under.

Each month, a winner will be selected and will receive �40 to spend at the Exchange Ilford retailer of their choice. The overall winner will be chosen next year and will receive �400.

To nominate a Redbridge youngster, click on the Young Citizen logo on the homepage of this website.

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