Slim pickings on the news front today so I’m going to grab something I overlooked a couple days ago:
James Durbin will be featured in an upcoming documentary about Tourette Syndrome. After broadcast in New York, the one-hour documentary will be available for national audience for a limited time at watch.thirteen.org.
He isn’t the star of the documentary. Here’s info from the press release:
Produced, directed and written by John Block and produced, edited and cinematography by Matt Wechsler, Different Is the New Normal reveals an acutely personal first-hand account of Tourette’s through the eyes of Ariel Small. With his permission, his mother Robin turned the camera on him to document their emotional journey to overcome the obstacles of Tourette’s in order to raise awareness about the disorder and help others living with the condition. Along the way, Ariel meets James Durbin, American Idol finalist, whose own battle with Tourette’s make him realize that anything is possible.
“Different Is the New Normal captures the pain and frustration many parents and their children experience,” said Neal Shapiro, WNET’s President and CEO. “Ariel’s inspirational story provides an uplifting perspective to this often misunderstood disorder, and will inspire everyone who watches this film to think about people as individuals, not as labels.”
According to the Tourette Syndrome Association (TSA), Tourette’s (TS) affects an estimated 200,000 people in the United States. It is a neurobiological disorder characterized by involuntary and repetitive physical and vocal tics. Yet, Tourette’s remains one of the most publicly misunderstood disorders.
Like most people, the Smalls had the preconceived notion of Tourette’s stereotypical symptoms such as compulsive outbursts of obscenities. Ariel exhibits none of these traits. This behavior belongs to a rare form of TS called coprolalia that affects only a small percentage of Tourette’s patients. Once the diagnosis settled in, Ariel and his family embarked on a life-changing journey to change the social stigma of the disease.
One of the disabling aspects of the disorder is the internal mental tics that disrupt daily functions. Another is the constant need to prove one’s disability in order to receive the education and legal rights for those with Tourette’s.
Remarkably, Ariel overcame his differences and became a Youth Ambassador for the TSA to advocate, educate and validate the disorder. As an ambassador, Ariel crossed paths with many people with Tourette’s having a productive career and a fulfilling life. Among those profiled is singer James Durbin who was relentlessly bullied due to his tics. In a revealing conversation between Ariel and the American Idol contender, Durbin tells Ariel “Different is the new normal.”