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Sunday, May 15 2011, 04:44 BST

By Jennifer Still, Entertainment Reporter

James Durbin has insisted that he is not embarrassed about suffering from both Asperger’s and Tourette’s syndrome.

The former American Idol contestant, who exited the competition in fourth place last week, revealed that he no longer takes medication to treat the conditions and instead prefers to deal with the symptoms naturally.


“When I was a kid I took medication but when I was 16 I just decided that I’m not going to let a man-made substance control me,” he told reporters following his elimination.

“God made me a certain way and I’m perfect in his eyes so I’m just going to run with it and be me. I’ve been looked at funny, but who cares? I don’t care. I’m different, you know. I’m a freak. But different is the new normal – if you’re not different, you’re not in.”


Durbin also credited the public theatre group Kids On Broadway with helping him to overcome much of his “social awkwardness”, by which he felt controlled for many years.


“One of the things that comes along with Asperger’s syndrome is social awkwardness and I really had a lot of it starting out. But me being in that organisation and really just being around people constantly really helped with that,” he recalled.


“So from one performance to the next was a complete 360 of my attitude and just everything, how I presented myself… I was able to talk to people and hold a conversation and not get emotional before performances.”


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