Russell Lehmann is an award-winning and internationally recognized motivational speaker, poet, author and advocate whose words have reached over 20 million people worldwide, from Argentina to Norway, Lebanon to Australia.
In 2003, Russell was diagnosed with autism at the University of Washington's Autism Center.
In 2011 Russell wrote a book titled “Inside Out: Stories and Poems from an Autistic Mind” which was featured in the LA Times, earned an Honorable Mention at the 2012 NY Book Festival and won the award for Literary Excellency at the 2013 International Autistic People's Awards in Vancouver, Canada.
Russell's name and story is known world wide, and every presentation he gives uplifts, inspires and increases awareness and understanding, all the while producing a room full of emotions. He has yet to give a speech that has not received a standing ovation.
In 2013 Russell made national headlines after a spoken word poem of his, directed at a rap artist who made an offensive comment about those with autism, went viral. After accumulating over 500,000 views in 24 hours, the rapper released an apology a day later and retracted the lyrics from his song.
In 2017 Russell made international headlines when he wrote a heartwarming Facebook post about a meltdown he had at an airport, and the airline employee who helped him through it. It quickly went viral and was featured on Yahoo! News, USA Today, Autism Speaks and countless other media platforms. Everybody everywhere was encouraged to #BeLikeDavid!
Russell has a raging fire within him to stand up for those who are not yet strong enough to do so themselves. His goals in life are to erase the stigma and stereotypes that come with having a disability, and to make this world a better place by spreading hope, awareness, acceptance, belief and tolerance.
Winter 2018 Organization for Autism Research’s “Finding Your Way: A College Guide for Students on the Spectrum”
Contribution, editing and reviewing of OAR’s college guide giving young adults on the spectrum the tools, support, and guidance they need to better navigate the college environment.https://researchautism.org/findingyourway/
Winter 2017 Organization for Autism Research’s “The Autism Hire Blog”
October, 2017 - Present Autism Society of America Panel of People on the Spectrum of Autism Advisors (PSA) Bethesda, MD
Provides expertise and guidance to the Autism Society in all aspects of its work.
Panel includes some of the most recognized and influential names in the autism community.
October, 2017 International Naturally Autistic People’s Awards (INAPA) Recipient for Community Achievement Award Vancouver, Canada
Received INAPA’s 2017 Community Achievement award for his “outstanding contribution to society”.
August, 2017 - Present Nevada Commission on Autism Spectrum Disorders Adult Services and Resources Subcommittee Carson City, NV
Expand and develop new service plans that will provide adults with the opportunity to reach their potential, live as independently as possible and have a good quality of life.
Promote and legislatively advocate for policies and funding which deliver self-directed, person-centered services for adults.
January, 2017 - Present Kulture City Speaker’s Bureau Founding Member Birmingham, AL
Promotes autism acceptance throughout the country by sharing his story, message and lessons learned from his experiences.
May, 2016 - Present Mayor Hillary Schieve of Reno Nevada Representative/Youth Ambassador Reno, NV
Attends events on behalf of the mayor and city of Reno when she is unable to attend
Engages in systemic change throughout the city of Reno by promoting diversity, tolerance, awareness, self-confidence and acceptance to local youth by means of school tours, speeches, etc.
December, 2015 - Present Nevada Governor’s Council on Developmental Disabilities (NGCDD) Self-advocate/council member Carson City, NV
Appointed by Governor Brian Sandoval to sit on Nevada’s only developmental disability council
Former member of the Budget Committee
Former member of the Legislative Committee
July, 2015 - Present Autism Coalition of Nevada (ACON) Self-advocate/board member/Chair of Youth Committee Reno, NV
ACON is a non-profit 501(c)(3) which has a membership comprised of professionals, organizations, therapists and others who serve Nevadans with Autism Spectrum Disorders and related neurodevelopmental disorders, as well as a multitude of individuals and families whose lives are affected by autism in some way
2nd Annual University of Washington Autism Center’s Benefit Dinner, Seattle, WA (January, 2018)
20th Annual Delaware LIFE Conference, Dover, DE (January, 2018)
Second Start Learning Disabilities Board Retreat, San Jose, CA (January, 2018)
Nevada Association for School Psychologists (NVASP), Reno, NV (January, 2018)
Supported Life Conference, Sacramento, CA (October, 2017)