Olivia and Eliott’s Story

Olivia on a park bench

Olivia’s Place is named after Olivia Chow, pictured on the left. Born in the year of the Golden Pig (2007) in Shanghai, Olivia’s parents tried for more than 3 years to conceive their first child. During the pregnancy, her mother took care to stay healthy by eating well, drinking lots of water, and practicing yoga 2-3 times a week up till her eight month of pregnancy.  Her mother attributes the happiness she felt during the pregnancy to Olivia being such a sweet, loving, and generally happy child with few demands.  Her father likes to think that it’s much simpler than that – Olivia inherited his easy-going personality.

Her birth signaled a big change for her parents.  They did not know she has Down Syndrome until the day she arrived in late October.  Nevertheless, they were determined to continue the life they have enjoyed, traveling and seeing the world as much as they could.  By the time she was two years old, Olivia was a world-class traveler, accompanying her parents to 9 countries and 33 cities, boarding an airplane over 60 times.  As a baby, she was truly easy-going, making it easy to take her along on leisure as well as business trips.

Olivia’s mother joined a support group in Shanghai for parents who have a child with special needs.  At the time, she was the only mother with a child with Down Syndrome.  Many of the parents had older children and Olivia’s mom really wanted to meet someone with a younger child.  No sooner had she joined, she was asked to make contact with another mom with a child a little older than Olivia, named Eliott, pictured on the right. Although Eliott has cerebral palsy, a different condition than Down Syndrome, his mom and Olivia’s mom became good friends.  Eliott’s mom could speak Chinese and did a lot of research to find therapy sources for him in Shanghai.  Together, they helped each other whenever they could.  They sometimes met up to go to physical therapy together.

When Olivia was nearly two, her parents repatriated to California (USA) in the hopes that she could have all the therapy she needed.  Some months later, Eliott’s family moved to New York for a year.  So although they were on opposite coasts, the mothers tried to stay in contact to offer each other support.

While in the US, Olivia welcomed a little brother, Peyton, and soon after his birth, her family returned to Shanghai for her father’s work. Olivia’s parents wanted to continue therapy services but found that Olivia’s previous therapists had either moved or were no longer available. Knowing that there are many other children in China who could also benefit from therapy, Olivia’s parents decided to start a new center, naming it Olivia’s Place, so that Olivia and other children could get world-class therapy care.

Soon after Olivia’s family had returned to Shanghai, Eliott’s family moved to Beijing. They, too, were desperate for physical therapy and joined efforts to open the Beijing location, calling it Eliott’s Corner.

Olivia currently lives in Shanghai with her parents and little brother whom she adores. She will be the first to say she’s sorry if she playfully shoves him a little too hard and is quick with a follow-up kiss to smooth things over. She loves puzzles, music, books, and of course, her iPad. She has quite a sense of humor and is very playful, enjoying taking a person’s eye glasses off their face if the person is holding her and not watching what she’s doing.

Eliott currently lives in Beijing and attends a mainstream international school with his younger sister, Elizabeth. The first thing everyone notices about Eliott is his infectious smile and easy-going personality. Eliott is a champion at focusing on his abilities and truly believes that he can achieve anything. Many things don’t come easy for him, but he is always the first to tell himself that he will try his best and that everyone has strengths in different areas.

As a toddler, Eliott endured multiple major surgeries. Even at such a young age, he never complained but instead put in his best efforts to make full recovery. Through his strength and hard work, Eliott is now able to join in many activities a boy his age loves. This would not be possible if not for his determined attitude and spirit. Eliott is a curious, confident, sociable, and determined boy. He’s also somewhat of a daredevil and is always willing to give anything a try! He now counts horse riding, swimming, kung fu and football among his favorite activities.

As clients themselves, Olivia and Eliott welcome you to their namesake centers. To find out if Olivia’s Place Pediatric Therapy Centers are the right place for your family, you can learn more about us, meet our therapists, or visit us personally in Beijing or Shanghai. We look forward to serving you.