A New Chapter

Ryan Lee, M.D., President, Autism Society of Hawaii

Ryan Lee, M.D., President, Autism Society of Hawaii

As summer came to a close, we welcomed another exciting chapter in the Autism Society of Hawaii.

The Society’s tradition of improving the lives of children with autism dates back to 1965, when Bernard Rimland, Ph.D., a research psychologist, called into question the theory that autism was caused by unloving “refrigerator mothers”.

Dr. Rimland, a respected authority on autism and other neurodevelopmental disorders, wrote Infantile Autism: The Syndrome and Its Implications for a Neural Theory of Behavior (1964). Following the reading of Rimland’s book, Leo Kanner, the child psychiatrist who first described autism as a syndrome, changed his prevailing perspective of autism as an emotional illness and recognized that autism is a neurodevelopmental disorder. Rimland was the first President of the Autism Society of America.

Today, the Society is recognized as the oldest and largest grassroots organization within the autism community. It is a leading source of information, research, reference and support on the autism spectrum. The Autism Society of America has more than 120,000 members and supporters connected by more than 115 affiliates nationwide. The Society has long been engaged in systemic change that positively impacts lives.

  • 1976 – Launched a project to study brain tissue in autism
  • 1980 – Individuals with autism serve on Society board of directors
  • 1984 – Congress adopts nationwide autism awareness campaign
  • 1996 – Formed a foundation focused on applied research
  • 1999 – Established the Autism Awareness Ribbon

The Autism Society of Hawaii was founded by William Bolman, M.D., a child psychiatrist who responded to a dire need for organized advocacy for individuals with autism in Hawaii. He served as President of the Autism Society of Hawaii from 2009 to 2014. Our history, an ever-present guide, was created by the work of passionate individuals.

I am encouraged with the leadership of our Board and Executive Director. Helping families improve the lives of children with autism is at the core of our mission. We are committed to educate, advocate, research, and develop resources for families and children with autism to accomplish the mission. The current history of the Society is being written by you, it’s members, as we participate in community together. The challenges we face present us with a great opportunity to participate fully in the process of discovering the potential in every child with autism. Let us move to accomplish these objectives in unity and love.

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In Grateful Memory of Dr. William M. Bolman

Dr. William M. Bolman, longtime president of the Autism Society of Hawaii, passed away in Honolulu on April 18, 2014.

He spent most of his professional career, advocating for children and adults on the autism spectrum.

Those who wish to make a donation to the Autism Society of Hawaii in Dr. Bolman's memory may send their contributions to:

Gerald Hew
210 Ward Ave. #219B
Honolulu, HI 96814

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