Reno resident Russell Lehmann is telling his story. A former staff member for Newton Learning Center, Lehmann travels the country speaking about his personal journey: from an agoraphobic, societal recluse to a man who shares a message of hope, inspiration and awareness about autism. “It is my heart’s passion to make a difference in the world,” Lehmann said. “I don’t just like doing what I do, I love it. My true goal is to help others.”
Lehmann is a speaker, author, poet, and advocate for autism. He also autistic himself. Most recently, he spoke at the Association for People Supporting Employment First’s 2018 national conference in Lake Buena Vista, Florida. This is one of 30 nationwide engagements Lehmann has booked this year.
Lehmann is no stranger to national exposure. In 2011 he released “Inside Out: Stories and Poems from an Autistic Mind,” featured in the Los Angeles Times. He also made national headlines in 2013 after a spoken word poem he directed at a rap artist who made an offensive comment about those with autism went viral. In 2017, Lehmann also made international news when he wrote a Facebook post about a mental breakdown he had at an airport and the airline employee who helped him through it.
The author and speaker has fond memories of the Newton Learning Center, a private school in northwest Reno designed for students diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder. “I first became involved with Newton Learning Center in 2012 when I was invited to speak to students about my life with autism,” Lehmann reflects. “Unfortunately, I succumbed to a severe panic attack and was unable to make it. A couple of years later though, I reached out to them about employment and working there became my very first full-time job. It was also one of the most memorable and happiest times of my life.”
Lehmann is also a council member for the Autism Society of America, a founding member of the Kulture City Speaker’s Bureau, a board member for the Autism Coalition of Nevada, a Youth Ambassador for Reno Mayor Hillary Schieve, and he was appointed by Nevada State Governor Brian Sandoval to serve on the Council for Developmental Disabilities.
For more information about Lehmann or to book him for an event, visit www.russell-lehmann.com.
To learn more about Newton Learning Center, please visit http://www.secondstart.org.
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