Some people with disabilities, whether inborn or by accident, are still able to function normally in the society. They sometimes even leave the able-bodied in awe for achieving something extraordinary. Time and again they have proven that their mental or physical defects are in fact diamonds in the rough.
Xlibris author Russell Lehmann is a poet with autism. His book Inside Out: Stories and Poems from an Autistic Mind, reveals an autistic savant. It is but fitting that such a precious literary gem be allowed to shine brightly here on the Xlibris Blog. Read on to know more about Russell and his literary gift.
Rising Above Autism
By Russell Lehmann
Having autism is extremely hard. However, having high-functioning autism can sometimes be even harder. For example, when a high-functioning autistic person communicates with a stranger, often times the stranger doesn’t realize the person has a disability; therefore you are looked upon as odd, scared, and sometimes even stupid. My name is Russell Lehmann, I have high-functioning autism, and I also write poetry.
In third grade I stopped going to school due to severe social anxiety. After three months of staying home, I was able to start attending school part-time. This experience repeated itself over the next two years. One day, in May of 2002, I had an extreme panic attack and stayed home from school. I was never able to go back to public school again. No one could figure out why this was happening to me.
In 2003, I was admitted to Children’s Hospital to be treated for extreme OCD, depression, and anxiety. My therapy there consisted of confronting my fears and phobias, which took an extremely hard toll on me. The doctors at the hospital still could not figure out why I was experiencing all of these symptoms. After five very long weeks, the doctors gave up on me, and I was discharged without having any of my symptoms solved.
Later that year, at the age of 12, I was diagnosed with autism. In 2004, I was able to attend Overlake Specialty School. I made great gains while I was there, however my life was still very far from normal.
In 2008, I was able to play high school varsity football, while taking online classes at home. Many struggles came with participating in a sport in which I knew none of the kids. Multiple times I would have major panic attacks right before practice. My coach was very supportive, and each time he helped me overcome my anxiety and attend practice. In 2009, I was the starting defensive end for his high school football team and was named to the all-state academic team.
I have recently written a book entitled “Inside Out: Stories and Poems from an Autistic Mind”. It details my incredibly hard life, in which I have overcome many challenges, while also containing many of my poems. To learn more about me and my book, please visit my personal website.
Russell’s Book Promotions
In 2012, Russell was a featured author at Xlibris Publishing’s official website promoting the Autism Awareness Month. He has also attracted various TV shows and inspired many viewers. Moreover, his book was nominated in the 2012 International Naturally Autistic People Awards.
We are grateful and honored to have Russell in the Xlibris Blog. His story is as poignant as poetry and an inspiration to the entire Xlibris community.
Russell Lehmann’s Xlibris Bibliography
- Inside Out: Poems and Stories from an Autistic Mind