Hawaii Chapter

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About Us

The Autism Society of Hawaii is a 501(c)(3) organization serving families and individuals touched by autism and autism spectrum disorders. We are the local chapter of the national Autism Society headquartered in Bethesda, Maryland.


Dr. William Bolman was a founding member of the Autism Society of Hawaii and had served as ASH president since 2009. He passed away on April 18, 2014. He graduated from Harvard College in 1951 and Harvard Medical School in 1955. The following year, he interned in pediatrics at the Bellevue Medical Center in New York City. He was a resident at Boston University in psychiatry and child psychiatry in 1957 and 1959 to 1963. From 1970 to 1995, he was a professor of child psychiatry. Dr. Bolman also served as consultant to the World Health Organization and the National Institute of Mental Health.



Executive Director Jessica Wong-Sumida, M.A., J.D., is a BISS with Hawaii Behavioral Health. She has worked with special needs children and families at the Hawaii Department of Education and with Ivar Lovaas in California. She has co-chaired the Community Children Council (Central District South and Legislative Committee) since 2004. At Kapiolani Community College, she serves as a lecturer on lifespan development. Her son received services from the state's Early Intervention Zero to 3 program.


Dr. Ryan Lee is a pediatric neurologist at the Shriners Hospitals for Children in Honolulu. He is director of Shriner's neurodevelopmental clinic and director of medical research. He was born and raised in Hawaii. He received his undergraduate degrees in biology and English from Creighton University and his medical degree from the John A. Burns School of Medicine at the University of Hawaii. He served his pediatrics residency at the Kapiolani Medical Center for Women and Children and the UH. He also had a residency/post-doctoral fellowship in child neurology and neurodevelopmental disabilities at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and the Kennedy Krieger Institute in Baltimore, Maryland. 


Board member John P. Dellera is an attorney admitted to the New York Bar in 1970 and the Hawaii Bar in 1996. He practiced law in New York City for 15 years with the firm of Baker Nelson & Williams and was New York Regional Counsel of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development from 1985 to 1994. He served as assistant attorney general of New York and moved in Hawaii in 1996. He served as deputy attorney general of Hawaii for 13 years and as executive director of the Hawaii Disability Rights Center from 2009 to 2011. He has been caregiver for a young man with autism since 1996.

Board member Keith Kong is executive chef at Duke's Waikiki.

Board member Dr. LaVay Lau, Ph.D., is the retired chief of the Koko Head Mental Health Clinic for Adult Services. She established a clinic in Honolulu's Chinatown to service women.

Board member Charles Murray is vice president and chief financial officer of University Health Alliance. He has over 10 years of experience in the Hawaii health industry. He is the parent of a child on the autism spectrum.



Board member Dr. Jeffrey Okamoto, M.D., is a developmental-behavioral pediatrician at the Pediatric Specialty Center at Kapiolani Medical Center for Women and Children. He was medical director for the Hawaii Department of Health Developmental Disabilities Division and is acting director for the division from 2011 to 2012.

Board member Sandee Oshiro is a digital journalist and previously served as interim editor for The Poynter Institute,  regional editor for Patch.com and managing editor/digital for The Honolulu Advertiser. She is bachelor's degree in communications/journalism from the University of Hawaii and masters of science degree from the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism. She has a college-age daughter on the autism spectrum and helps coordinate support for families with children diagnosed with Asperger's, high-functioning autism and similar conditions.

Board member Tim Wee is a retired assistant chief of the Hawaii Deparment of Health adult mental health Division.

Board member Dr. JoAnn Yuen, Ed.D., is associate professor of disability studies at the University of Hawaii. She has more than 20 years experience with the Hawaii Department of Health and Department of Education. She has served with numerous for-profit and nonprofit organizations that serve children and families who are at-risk. She served as principal investigaor on a variety of U.S. Department of Education, Community Technology Center and Native Hawaii Education grants. Her current implementation and research projects are community-based and generate best practices to promote early intervention and pre-K transitions, literacy, self-determination and advocacy, persistence and self-efficacy and entrepreneurship.



Honorary board member State Sen. Suzanne Chun-Oakland has served in the Hawaii State Legisalature since 1996. She is a strong advocate for children's rights and sponsors the annual Children and Youth Day at the state Capitol, Child and Youth Summit and Keiki Caucus.


Honorary board member Robert Klein served as senior associate justice of the Hawaii Supreme Court from 1992 to 2000. He drafted the Supreme Court's landmark PASH (Public Access Shoreline Hawaii) decision, which upheld the reasonable exercise of traditional and customary Native Hawaiian rights. He served as the Office of Hawaiian Affairs board lead counsel and is partner at the Honolulu law firm of McCorriston Miller Mukai MacKinnon LLP. He is parent of a young adult on the spectrum.

Honorary board member Ivalee Sinclair has over 40 years experience helping students with disabilities. She received the lifetime achievement award from the Mental Health America of Hawaii and served as chairwoman for the Special Education Advisory Council. She was nominated for the Jefferson Award in 2008 and served on the Coalition for Children with Special Needs. She has fought for services for her own children when they were in school.