Become a Member

New York City Viewers
Tune in Thursday, September 15 for a new
documentary about Tourette Syndrome
"Different is the New Normal"
on WNET Thirteen at 8:00 pm
different is the new normal
James Durbin (center) with Robin and Ariel Small

The national Tourette Syndrome Association, Inc. is excited to inform you about a new documentary, "Different is the New Normal", a new film that demystifies the stigma of Tourette Syndrome, premiering Thursday, September 15 at 8:00 pm (EST) on WNET Channel 13.

Additional airdates:
WNET Channel 13 ENCORE - Saturday, September 17th at 3:30am (EST)
NJTV Tuesday, September 20th at 10pm (EST); Thursday, September 22nd at 4am (EST);
       Sunday, September 25th at 5am (EST); Sunday, September 25th at 11pm (EST)  
WLIW21 Tuesday, September 27th at 10:30pm (EST)

WTTW (Chicago) on Sunday, Nov 6 at 6pm (CST)

The film captures the courage and triumph of Ariel Small, a teen with TS, and features James Durbin of "American Idol" who inspired the film title.

After broadcast, the one-hour documentary will be available for the national audience for a limited time here.

Below is the press release issued by WNET providing more information about the documentary:

Ariel Small grew up in suburban Chicago with four siblings and loving parents. However, as Ariel grew older his parents noticed something different. His behavior became more and more alarming. Premiering on Thursday, September 15 at 8 p.m. (ET) on THIRTEEN and Tuesday, September 27 at 10:30 p.m. (ET) on WLIW21, Different Is the New Normal tracks trials and triumphs of Ariel Small, a 17-year-old who has struggled with uncontrollable tics caused by Tourette Syndrome - and others' intolerance and misperceptions about it - throughout his life. Edie Magnus narrates. After broadcast, the one-hour documentary will be available for national audience for a limited time at The film is a presentation of Creative News Group in association with WNET New York Public Media, the parent company of THIRTEEN and WLIW21, New York's public television stations and operator of NJTV. For nearly 50 years, WNET has been producing and broadcasting national and local documentaries and other programs for the New York community.

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."

Major support for Different Is the New Normal is provided by David and Robin Small. Executive Producer is Robin Small. Producer, Director and Writer is John Block. Producer, Editor, and Cinematographer is Matt Wechsler. Composer is David Varga. Narrator is Edie Magnus. For WNET's Creative News Group, General Manager is Mary Lockhart. Executive-in-Charge is Stephen Segaller.

        42-40 Bell Boulevard  / Suite 205  /  Bayside, New York 11361  /  718-224-2999  /  /  contact us

The Tourette Association of America is dedicated to making life better for
all people affected by Tourette and Tic Disorders.

Return to the Tourette Association Home Page
©2007-2016 Tourette Association of America Inc.