Project Description

Russell Lehmann is an award-winning and internationally recognized motivational speaker, poet, author and advocate who happens to have autism. He has contributed to numerous scientific studies on autism, among them King’s College of London’s “Conceptualizing compensation in neurodevelopmental disorders: Reflections from autism spectrum disorder”.

His words have been featured in the USA Today, LA Times, NPR, Yahoo! News, Autism Speaks and archived in the Library of Congress, reaching over 25 million people worldwide, from Argentina to Norway, Lebanon to Australia.

A council member for the Autism Society of America, Russell also sits on the Nevada Governor’s Council on Developmental Disabilities, is a board member for the Autism Coalition of Nevada, while also chairing their statewide Youth Advisory Committee, is a committee member for the Nevada Commission on Autism Spectrum Disorders, a founding member of the Kulture City Speaker’s Bureau, an organization which spreads awareness and acceptance about autism, and is the Youth Ambassador for the mayor of Reno, Nevada, Hillary Schieve.

Russell showed signs of autism as a newborn, however he was not formally diagnosed until the age of 12 after suffering through 5 weeks in a lock down psychiatric facility. 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, read by Temple Grandin and won the award for Literary Excellency at the 2013 International Autistic People’s Awards in Vancouver, Canada.

Most recently, Russell was inducted into the National Association for Councils on Developmental Disabilities “Self-Advocate Leadership Circle” in Washington D.C. “In recognition of his outstanding commitment to self-advocacy” and was awarded a Certificate of Recognition by Nevada Governor Brian Sandoval in recognition of Russell’s “Unwavering advocacy and work to educate our citizens about autism” and his “commitment to ensuring no one feels alone”

Russell currently travels the country spreading hope, awareness, acceptance, belief and tolerance in a raw and dynamic fashion, while also setting his sights on erasing the stigma and stereotypes that come with having a disability. Russell’s passion is to be a voice for the unheard, for he knows how difficult and frustrating it is to go unnoticed.

Visit Russell’s website at www.TheAutisticPoet.com for contact information, motivational videos and booking information. You can also look him up on Facebook, Twitter, and follow him on Instagram at autism_advocate_

Most Recent Lecture Engagements:

  • UCONN LEND Program (September, 2018): 3 hour presentation for the students of the University of Connecticut’s Leadership Education in Neurodevelopmental Disabilities (LEND) Program. Topics included first person insight into living with a disability, how to better aide clients with disabilities, keys to promote better collaboration between healthcare providers and how to see the person before the diagnosis.
  • Delaware Partners in Policymaking Graduation Ceremony, Dover, DE (September, 2018): Commencement address empowering new graduates to pave the way for future change in the disability community followed by a book signing and photo-op.
  • Upland School District Staff Retreat, Upland, CA (August, 2018): Keynote presentation to 1,000+ employees of the school district including teachers, assistants, bus drivers, cooks, janitorial teams, etc. Emphasized were the topics of Leading with Compassion, Awareness of Silent Struggles, Unlocking Students’ Potentials and best practices for comforting students in
  • Nevada Partners in Policymaking Graduation Ceremony, Las Vegas, NV (August, 2018): Commencement address empowering new graduates to pave the way for future change in the disability community followed by a book signing and photo-op.
  • National APSE Conference, Lake Bueno Vista, FL: (June, 2018): Presentation and spoken word poetry about the power of one’s voice, along with transparent and raw insight into living a life on the spectrum.
  • Leaders of Tomorrow with Ari Ne’eman, Reno, NV: (June, 2018): Presentation alongside disability advocate and co-founder of the Autistic Self Advocacy Network (ASAN) Ari Ne’eman to empower local youth to follow their dreams in order to be our generation’s next
  • Hawaii Self-Advocacy and Advisory Council Summit, Honolulu, HI (May, 2018): Presentation for members of the Hawaii Self-Advocacy and Advisory Council (SAAC) from all the islands alongside the First Lady of Hawaii Dawn Amano-Ige
  • 10th Annual Dare to Dream Conference, Providence, RI (May, 2018): 3 keynotes in 2 days in front of over 1000 attendees including students with disabilities as well as medical professionals and families.
  • Expanding the Horizons, Richardson, TX (May, 2018): 90 minute presentation on self-empowerment and perseverance to parents, teachers and students to kick off the Expanding the Horizons series for Region 10. Followed by a 2 hour Q&A.