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June 20th, 2012
11:48 AM ET

'American Idol' favorite James Durbin overcomes Tourettes, Aspergers and bullying

Editor's note: In the Human Factor, we profile survivors who have overcome the odds. Confronting a life obstacle – injury, illness or other hardship – they tapped their inner strength and found resilience they didn't know they possessed.  James Durbin became a household name last year as the "American Idol" fan favorite who also has Tourette syndrome and Aspergers syndrome.  He also opens up about how music was not only a refuge from neurological disorders, but also years of bullying.

I believe it was December of '98 when my dad passed away of an overdose. A few weeks later, around my 10th birthday, I was diagnosed with Tourette syndrome and Asperger syndrome.

It was a really rough time, especially at that age, being told I have a neurological "disease," when I already felt so different.

At that point I was being bullied for being different, having big ears, and now for having no dad AND for making weird faces and noises I couldn't control.  I was a walking target.
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