Monday, March 21, 2011

Tourette’s, Asperger’s, and Idol

So if you don’t watch Idol you may wonder what those other 2 terms have to do with Idol. There is a contestant on American Idol this season named James Durbin. The 22-year-old has been compared to Adam Lambert because of the way he sometimes screams as he sings which is what Lambert is known for. When you see Durbin sing, the one thing you may not know about him is that he has two disabilities: Asperger’s syndrome and Tourette’s Syndrome. He was 9-years-old when he got diagnosed and that was also when he lost his father to a drug overdose. He used to get picked on and beat up in school because of his disabilities. The amazing thing is, when he sings “it all just goes away, like I don’t have a care in the world”.

Now here is a little bit of info on the two disorders. The best-known symptom of Tourette’s syndrome is involuntary swearing, also called coprolalia. But only a small minority of people with TS have that problem. Tourette’s is a neurological disorder that triggers involuntary movements and vocal outburst called tics. On Idol, we have seen Durbin show characteristic symptoms such as blinking and facial twitches. I hope that people who watch the show regularly understand that he can’t help that and don’t make fun of him for it.

Asperger’s syndrome is a high functioning form of autism that can cause repetitive rituals, obsessions, oddities of speech, eccentric behavior, trouble connecting with peers, and clumsy movements. Durbin said about Asperger’s “that it’s about social awkwardness and not being able to contain yourself and being overwhelmed”.

He also made a great statement that I absolutely love: “I have Tourette’s and Asperger’s, but Tourette’s and Asperger’s don’t have me. I’m doing what I can to suppress it. It’s not who I am”.

I think James Durbin is a great role model for anyone, and especially those who have Tourette’s, Asperger’s, or any other disability. By him being on Idol, he is showing that no matter what disability you have, anything is possible if you believe in yourself.


  1. This is the first year that I've not watched American Idol so I'm not in with the up and up.. Great story!

    Thank you for voting on Andrea's picture I appreciate it :) I'm following with GFC and facebook


  2. Your welcome!! And thanks!! I put your button on my blog!


Leave me some comments! (I do my best to respond to them all!! :)