Discover what’s possible when someone chooses to break down walls with vulnerability.
Russell Lehmann is a motivational speaker, poet, author, and autism self-advocate. In 2018, Russell was awarded Reno-Tahoe’s “Most Outstanding Young Professional Under 40.” He has already published two books. The first is called Inside Out: Stories and Poems from an Autistic Mind, and the second is On the Outside Looking In. Russell leans on writing as an outlet for his pain. Stay tuned until the end of the conversation to hear him recite one of his poems.
Growing up as a social recluse with no one to trust, Russell decided to use the stories of his struggles to connect with an audience and initiate vulnerable dialogue. Public speaking gave him a purpose to be a voice for the unheard.
Russell travels the world spreading hope, awareness, and compassion, while also striving to erase the stigma and stereotypes associated with having a disability. Individuals diagnosed with autism are at a higher risk of developing comorbid mental health disorders. Russell aims to shift society’s perspective on invisible disabilities.
In this conversation, Russell and I touch on the topic of ableism and the complexities around using labels to identify people. We discuss what he’s learned about himself through public speaking and the ways he feels misunderstood by others around him.
Russell lets us into his world and describes the extent to which his obsessive-compulsive disorder impacted his life as a child. He explains how he copes with his symptoms today and also gives us a glimpse of the stressful thought process that takes over him during social interactions.
You can learn more about Russell Lehmann and his work here: The Autistic Poet.
We appreciate your time. If you enjoy this podcast and you’d like to support our mission, please take just a few seconds to share it with one person who you think will find value in it too. You can also follow us on Instagram @autismpodcast and subscribe to our YouTube channel Global Autism Project.
We would love to hear your feedback about the show. Please fill out this short survey to let us know your thoughts: Listener Survey.
65. Neurodiversity Training International, with Jude MorrowDiscover what’s possible when autism is not viewed as just a broken version of n
64. Sibling Support and Physical Therapy, with Vanessa ListaDiscover what’s possible when relationships are strengthened by listening. Van
63. Individualized Education Programs, with Brian Middleton, Colleen Dorsey, and Michael GilbergDiscover what’s possible when the student’s interests lead the team. This week
62. The Diverse Butterfly, with Cassidy HooperDiscover what’s possible when a butterfly spreads her wings. Cassidy Hooper is