'American Idol' contestant inspires local autistic mother

Thursday, April 21, 2011 - 8:58am

For some viewers, 'American Idol' is just a form of entertainment, but for one local woman, the singing contest is a form of inspiration.

Christina Pinckard spends her days studying to become a teacher and tutoring other students at Bossier Parish Community College.  But at nights, she roots for her favorite 'American Idol' contestant, James Durbin.

Durbin revealed on the show that he has Tourette's and Asperger's Syndrome, a developmental disorder resembling autism.  Christina, who is autistic, has two sons who also have autism.  "He inspired me to show my kids that no matter what, they can do it.  They can reach for the stars if they wanted to," she said.

Christina wanted to personally show her support for Durbin, so she sent him a necklace with a special message.  The personalized necklace had his initials, two guitars and the word 'believe'.  To her surprise, she got autographed pictures back a week later and noticed something familiar around Durbin's neck during his performance last week.

Christina told us that she was elated when she saw him wearing the necklace she made for him.

Durbin has inspired Christina to embrace life and everything that comes with it.  Her co-workers say her positive attitude has a similar effect on those students that she helps.

"I think she is an inspiration to kids that do have autism," said Christina's co-worker, Carliss Pierce. "She wants them to know they can do anything they want to if they set their minds to it."

Christina told us that she endured tough times growing up with many people doubting her success, but she did not let that negativity stop her from reaching for her goals.  She is well on her way to achieving her goal of becoming an English teacher.  And one of the first lessons that she will teach her students someday, "Your dreams are possible."

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