Testimonials

International praise for Russell’s work in advocacy

Universities
Governor Brian Sandoval praises Russell for his advocacy in autism

“Unwavering Advocacy”

“In recognition of your unwavering advocacy and work to educate our citizens about autism, I commend your dedication to sharing your story through public speaking, poetry, and inspiring stories. I thank you for your commitment to ensuring no one feels alone.”  /// Governor Brian Sandoval – President, University of Nevada, Reno and Former Nevada Governor

Wendy Parent-Johnson was pleased to have Russell Lehmann at the University of South Dakota's Center for Disabilities 2017 Symposium

“Generating New Ideas”

“Thank you for your informative and inspiring message. The audience loved you and really gained a lot from your presentation and sharing of your personal experiences. You were the perfect kick off for our annual 2017 Symposium and contributed to many engaging discussions and generation of new ideas among participants throughout the three-day event.”  /// Wendy Parent-Johnson, Ph.D., CRC, CESP – Center for Disabilities, University of South Dakota

Molly Cole of Connecticut Council for Developmental Disabilities

“A Call to Action”

“Russell Lehmann gave an inspiring and engaging presentation to our Partners in Policymaking graduates in CT. His insight into how his own disability shaped his life was a message of hope and a call to action for our future leaders of the disability movement. Everyone was uplifted.”  /// Molly Cole – Connecticut Council on Developmental Disabilities

Tina Rhodes: Russell Lehmann has a positive attitude we can all learn from

“Positive Attitude”

“Russell’s powerful presentation, along with his ability to explain the lessons he has learned with an enduring positive attitude was both education and inspiring. Our faculty will be referring to his presentation throughout the year as Russell has provided practical, personal examples of living with autism that generalizes to compassion for all human beings.”  /// Tina Rhodes – UConn Health

Eric Kurtz, Russell Lehmann

“Captured the Audience”

“Russell’s keynote presentation at our symposium was an emotional, raw and very personal story about the lived experience, including the triumphs and the challenges. His story captured the audience and inspired us all.”  /// Eric Kurtz, Ph.D – Executive Director, Center for Disabilities University of South Dakota Sanford School of Medicine

Russell Lehmann - Dr. Francesca Happe

“Moving Speech in London”

“Russell’s inspiring and moving speech touched the hearts of the scientists and students who heard him when he spoke at our research Centre in London. We all learnt a great deal from him sharing his personal journey, his poetry and his wisdom.”  /// Francesca Happé PhD – Professor of Cognitive Neuroscience, King’s College London

Keynotes
Mark Chavez Smiling in Black Shirt Pecan Valley Centers

“Generated Actionable Ideas”

“Russell knocked it out of the park! It was truly impressive how he was able to use relatable, real-world stories to distill complex concepts into tangible, manageable components and engage the conference participants of 100+ in a thought-provoking discussion which generated actionable ideas that we can implement immediately.”  /// R. Mark Chavez, M.S., Chief of IDD Services – Pecan Valley Centers for Behavioral & Developmental Healthcare

Sandra Taylor Community Healthcore

“He Is Unforgettable”

“For the past five years we have used numerous speakers, but none like Russell Lehmann.  Russell was able to give an insight that we have not had.  He was able to articulate his feelings, thoughts, and awareness of his diagnosis that no others have been able to share. He uses humor, facts, and an uncanny ability to connect with his audience.  He is unforgettable.  He will touch your soul with his powerful message!”  /// Sandra Davis, IDD Director – Community Healthcore of Texas

Dr. Pamela Baker says Russell's advocacy in autism is making a difference

“Making a Difference”

“Russell Lehmann kicked off our first Expanding the Horizon Event for parents. His story is one that needs to be heard by parents and educators. His presentation was engaging and inspiring. His poetry is heartfelt and real. parents and educators had an opportunity for questions and the conversations were moving. Thank you Russell, you are making a difference in many people’s lives.”  /// Dr. Pamela Baker – Region 10 School Service Center

Russell advocates for strength in autism at Rhode Island Department of Health

“Powerful Message”

“I have wanted to say how significantly you impacted all of us as our keynote speaker for our Rhode Island 10th Anniversary Student Dare to Dream (D2D) Conference. As situations arise through life, work, and community connections, reflecting back on your words of encouragement and inspiration in your powerful message that you have to keep going and work through it provides such hope for anyone who has walked or will walk the road you have traveled. We truly thank you.”  /// Colleen Polselli – Rhode Island Department of Health

“The Power of Story”

“The power of story! Russell’s keynote address to our 6th Annual Autism Conference moved and inspired 160 parents, professionals, and adults on the spectrum. Standing ovation! Our conference planning for next year has begun and we want Russell back.”  /// Bill Weismann – Lewis County Autism Coalition

Carol Beitler says Russell Lehmann challenges boundaries

“Challenging Boundaries”

“Russell reinforced why I am committed to serving students with disabilities. His story inspires, and confirmed for me that the possibilities for the students we serve are without boundaries.”  /// Carol Beitler – Broward County School District

Letters of Appreciation

Community Engagement Conference

Dear Russell, On behalf of the Community Engagement Conference 2022 Planning Committee we would like to thank you again for the wonderful keynote address that you presented on our theme of “Building Community” at Truman State University in Kirksville, Missouri. The conference had over 300 people in attendance. The audience feedback on your presentation was outstanding! Out of approximately 50% of returned surveys, 100% of the respondents gave you the highest possible review on your presentation. We felt honored to have you as our guest in Northeast Missouri. Russell, your presentation came at a pivotal moment for our community as we discuss and plan the development of the Greenwood Center for Autism in Northeast Missouri. To quote one of the key players from the conference, she said “Russell is saying exactly what everyone in this room needs to hear.” We appreciate your transparency in sharing your inspiring personal journey. Your willingness to discuss your story, identify what worked and what didn’t work for you as well as your balance in reviewing educational and community supports had enormous impact on our community leadership. We are confident that your message will be considered in the planning and providing services for the autistic

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Workshops/Trainings
Ira Gostin calls Russell more than a storyteller: his story of living with autism inspires us all

“A Poet and Storyteller”

“Russell isn’t just a poet. Or a young man with autism who suffers with OCD issues and PTSD. He is an entrepreneur, a poet, a storyteller, and educator and an amazing individual with a fantastic story to tell. Bring him to speak to your organization and watch him fly with all his superpowers. He will touch your heart.”  /// Ira M. Gostin, MBA, APR – Second Start Learning Disabilities Programs Inc.

Mary Helen Richer, Russell Lehmann Autism Society of Greater Cincinnati

“Instrumental in Spreading Awareness”

“Russell speaks from the heart, and is an insightful, well-spoken presenter. He is not afraid to share deeply and openly, and is candid with both his triumphs and struggles. He is instrumental in bringing awareness, understanding and acceptance of autism and gives those who are not living with autism a very real inside look into his experiences.”  /// Mary Helen Richer – Autism Society of Greater Cincinnati

“Fantastic Presentation, Perfect Speaker!”

“Russell is a fantastic speaker! I would recommend him to any group! Russell is very articulate, passionate, and has a great message to share with everyone. Not only was his message great, but he brought it to our audience in a way that kept their attention and connected with them. He was able to still click with our audience even though his presentation was on a virtual platform. With our group, Russell was speaking to young adults with all types of disabilities. He was the perfect speaker for this type of audience. Russell was real with them and validated their thoughts and feelings. They connected with his story because his story is also their story. We are just so pleased that we had Russell as a speaker and would invite him back anytime!”  /// Carrie Greenwood – Program Coordinator – Kansas Youth Empowerment Academy

“Dynamic Expert”

“I recently had the good fortune of meeting Russell Lehmann.  I was immediately drawn into the conversation.  Russell is sincere, honest, and generous with sharing his story.  As the MA DDS Statewide Director of Training & Staff Development, I am always on the lookout for dynamic, informative speakers.  People who are not only subject matter experts, but also have so much more to share.  Russell is able to address an experience as only he can.  Difficulties at a young age, where he was bullied as a quirky kid, finally leading to a diagnosis of Autism Spectrum Disorder.  Russell’s description is not fiction.  It is a story which he lives every day.  He will tell you the heartbreak, the hard times, and the truth about what it is to grow up autistic.  Don’t miss the opportunity to hear him speak!  We valued all the insights we learned as he spoke of his life.”  /// Valarie (Oresto) Whiting, PhD – Statewide Director of Training & Staff Development, MA DDS

“Dynamic and Authentic!”

“Words don’t seem strong enough to express the impact Russell had on our event. His ability to share some of the most vulnerable experiences in his life created a dynamic and authentic presentation. Russell’s perspective was crucial to provide a client-centered perspective for our conference. He set the stage for the social workers attending our conference to be vulnerable and authentic. I believe the social workers who attended our event will continue to pull from Russell’s presentation and be reminded that our clients and their struggles are far more than what we view during a case management session. Russell’s personality, perspective, and willingness to be authentic would transform anyone’s training event, as it did for ours. It was such a pleasure to work with Russell- we hope to be able to again!”  /// Tess Peterson – Nevada Public Health Foundation (NPHF)

Russell Lehmann Georgetown Independent School District Dana Johnson

“Powerful and Unforgettable”

“Russell came and spoke to our Special Education team, a group of educators that work directly with students with various disabilities. These are professionals that have advanced degrees and years of experience in the field. They described Russell’s presentation as “eye-opening, powerful and unforgettable”. Russell speaks in an authentic way about his struggles with autism. He is candid in the way he describes his experiences and is willing to answer questions to help his audience gain an insight and understanding that only an individual living with autism can. Russell touched all of our lives and he gave us hope for the students that we support that are dealing with some of the same challenges.”  /// Dana Johnson, M.Ed. Special Education Director – Georgetown ISD, Texas

Welcome and Keynote Speaker

Russell Lehmann | Speaker, Poet, Advocate

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Would love to have him speak to students. I will look over his videos to present to kiddos.

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Wonderful information and thank you for sharing your own experiences

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Very inspirational!

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AMAZING!!!

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This was fabulous!

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Russell Lehmann - Breakout Session

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I wish there was more time for Q&A. I felt talked to for an hour, which was fine, but I would have liked more of an interactive presentation.

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Again, very good speaker

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Great presentation

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This guy is so inspiring

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Grateful for his articulate, personal and very honest story shared with us

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Great perspective and reminders

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Dear Russell,

On behalf of the Community Engagement Conference 2022 Planning Committee we would like to thank you again for the wonderful keynote address that you presented on our theme of “Building Community” at Truman State University in Kirksville, Missouri. The conference had over 300 people in attendance. The audience feedback on your presentation was outstanding! Out of approximately 50% of returned surveys, 100% of the respondents gave you the highest possible review on your presentation. We felt honored to have you as our guest in Northeast Missouri.

Russell, your presentation came at a pivotal moment for our community as we discuss and plan the development of the Greenwood Center for Autism in Northeast Missouri. To quote one of the key players from the conference, she said “Russell is saying exactly what everyone in this room needs to hear.”  We appreciate your transparency in sharing your inspiring personal journey. Your willingness to discuss your story, identify what worked and what didn’t work for you as well as your balance in reviewing educational and community supports had enormous impact on our community leadership. We are confident that your message will be considered in the planning and providing services for the autistic community in Northeast Missouri for many years to come.

In addition, the participants were particularly appreciative of the round table discussion which you led following lunch. So many of the people receiving community services felt comfortable enough to speak up and share their thoughts. Many participants said that they have never seen that level of participation from the consumers of our services in the history of this conference. Together we all agreed it was because of your motivational speaking style and ability to connect on a deeply personal level with your audience.

Russell, your ability to communicate a positive and inspiring message to people with developmental disabilities has emboldened many to speak up and embrace self-advocacy. Following your presentation, several local citizens impacted by autism have come together and are beginning to share their stories in support of one another. You modeled for many what leadership and vision looks like. You demonstrated how that vision can help a community come together. We cannot express enough our gratefulness for all that you said and did during your visit. We look forward to continuing our communications with you as your message continues to change the world.

Thank you for all that you do

Crystal Aminirad

Executive Director