Someone 2 Know: Russell Lehmann - KTVN Channel 2 - Reno Tahoe Sparks News, Weather, Video

Someone 2 Know: Russell Lehmann

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25-year-old Russell Lehmann has seen his fair share of dark days. 

"That was probably the lowest point in my life," said Lehmann. "I wanted to end it on multiple occasions."

Just four years ago, he slumped into a depression.

"I didn't leave my house for 56 straight days." 

At age 12, Russell was diagnosed on the autism spectrum. He had trouble controlling emotions and he couldn't look people in the eye.

"I was pretty much non-verbal by choice," he said. "I was too scared to talk to the outside world besides my parents."

Today though, he speaks openly, and very publicly about what it's like to live on the spectrum.  

"I want to give hope to parents because my parents worried about my future."

But how is that kid, who was once afraid of a ringing doorbell, able to speak in front of large crowds? 

"I don't know how I got here." 

For Reno mom Tessa De La Cruz, she found the answer she was looking for from Russell. Her four year old daughter named Miracle, was  born prematurely. 

"She was diagnosed with autism when she was three." 

Tessa says that news was hard to accept at first. She was scared for Miracle.  But hearing Russell talk changed her mind. 

"I know I am not alone," said Tessa. "Listening to Russell speak, I know there is hope."

Today, Russell lives by himself. He runs errands by himself. He works two jobs, and most people don't even know he's on the spectrum. 

"I have to use these experiences, and the lessons I've learned from them to help others. That is my goal: to help others." 

By the way, Russell is now an autism advocate, and he gives speeches all around Northern Nevada. In fact, he's already given seven this year. Russell has been appointed by Governor Brian Sandoval to the Council of Developmental Disabilities. 

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