Marc Innerhofer

LIH Olivia’s Place PT Speaks at CARM Exercise Therapy Congress

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Marc 1The 14th annual Exercise Therapy Congress organized by the Chinese Association of Rehabilitation Medicine (CARM) was held in Chengdu this year from July 16th – 17th. The 2-day conference saw speakers from all over China, the CARM leadership, as well as guest speakers from Canada and Germany present on the latest developments in the field of exercise therapy.

Marc 2Marc Innerhofer, LIH Olivia’s Place Physical Therapist (Beijing clinic) was invited by Du Qing (杜青), Director of the Rehabilitation Department at Shanghai Xin Hua hospital (上海新华医院), to deliver a talk on “Physical Therapy Intervention for Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder” as part of a sub-series of talks relating to the field of pediatric rehabilitation.

The presentation was well received by local therapists and health care professionals from all over the country. Among the attendees who were interested in learning more about therapy for children with autism was a delegation from Chengdu Xi Nan Children’s Hospital (成都西南儿童医院) (see photo below).

Marc 3

Beijing Clinical Team Gives Generously in Their Community

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In the last three months of 2015, the clinical team at LIH Olivia’s Place in Beijing contributed an amazing amount of time and skill to pro bono work. Here we provide some brief statistics to help give you an idea of their dedication to the communities we serve:


Speech and Language Therapy

  • The speech-language team, led by Chelsey Contillo, provided 16 hours of direct therapy to children from Bethel, including Yu Lin, as seen in the photo below.
    Chelsey Contillo, SLP, Beijing, with YuLin

    Chelsey Contillo, SLP, Beijing, with YuLin

    LIH Olivia's Place Beijing Speech  Therapist Peng Bo works with a child from Bethel

    LIH Olivia’s Place Beijing Speech Therapist Peng Bo works with a child from Bethel

    PB TTY + WY Bethel


  • They also provided an on-site training on early language development to the therapy and ‘house’ ayis at Shepherd’s Field, followed by 4 evaluations for new children. Thanks to Frangie Yan, Client Care Coordinator, and Speech Therapists PengBo and Tessie for their great input to this day. The feedback from Shepherd’s Field was overwhelmingly positive and they are hoping to have Chelsey and team back again for more training and therapy in the new year.


Physical Therapy

  • The PT team, consisting only of Marc Innerhofer, provided 10 hours of direct therapy to a young boy from Morning Star, who is reported to be making great progress under Marc’s guidance. Marc also managed to provide another 12 hours of direct therapy at the clinic to children from Shepard’s Field.


Occupational Therapy    

  • OT Eva Ma, alongside PT Marc Innerhofer, provided another 12 hours of direct therapy in a multidisciplinary approach to a group of 4 children in total, with assistance from OT Jessie.  Shepard’s Field was so impressed with our team that they even featured them in their own newsletter!!
    Marc Innerfhofer (PT) and Eva Ma (OT) with children from Shepherd's Field at LIH Olivia's Place Beijing

    Marc Innerfhofer (PT) and Eva Ma (OT) with children from Shepherd’s Field at LIH Olivia’s Place Beijing

  • Eva also gavetime to travel all the way to Jinningnan in Inner Mongolia to visit a welfare center with which we have developed a strong partnership. She spent a day there, with translation and assistance from TingTing Yan, Junior Occupational Therapist, to see a number of children. They travelled there and back on the night train and Eva still managed to come to work the next day!!
  • Occupational Therapist Sorcha Ni Chadhain (assisted by Occupational Therapists TingTing and Tessie) provided another 16 hours of direct therapy to children from Bethel. Some children were seen in a very effective multi-disciplinary approach alongside the speech team, while others received individual input.



SO……..that’s a total of:

66 hours of direct therapy!!!!!!

1 full day Speech and Language Training

1 full Occupational Therapy consultation

2 very long train rides

and a large number of happy children and carers!

Clinician Profile: Marc Innerhofer, Physiotherapist

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Marc Innerhofer, Physiotherapist & Physical Therapy Lead (Beijing)

Marc Innerhofer, Physiotherapist & Physical Therapy Lead (Beijing)

Marc Innerhofer is a physiotherapist from Austria. He received his degree at the University of Queensland in Brisbane, Australia. Marc previously worked in a public hospital predominantly treating adults, but has since spent the last 3 years specializing in the field of pediatrics at LIH Oliva’s Place in Beijing. He has experience working with children with a variety of diagnoses including developmental delay, ADHD, developmental coordination disorder (DCD), autism, cerebral palsy, spina bifida, Erb’s Palsy, and Down Syndrome. Marc regularly volunteers his time to various welfare centers and non-profit organizations, providing expertise and treating children with a wide arrange of disabilities. Marc works with children and families in English, Chinese, and German.



How long have you been in China?

I moved to China in February 2012. My original plan to study Chinese for a few months has turned into almost 4 years that I’ve now been living in Beijing.


Why did you choose to work at LIH Olivia’s Place?

I chose to work for LIH Olivia’s Place to pursue my goal of specializing in the field of pediatric physical therapy. Despite the somewhat precarious health standards in China, LIH Olivia’s Place offered a professional setting and framework, ensuring international recognition for the work experience and clinical skills I have developed while working here. At the same time I have been able to contribute to the company’s ongoing mission to improve the standard of rehabilitation and therapy in China.


Why did you choose your field?

I chose to study physical therapy after completing my mandatory social service in a center for children with cerebral palsy back in Austria, my home country. Being introduced to the field of disability and learning about the impact therapy can have on the quality of life of people with physical impairments was an eye-opening experience.


What are some of the most rewarding experiences you have had in your chose profession?

I’ve had a lot of opportunity to make meaningful changes by volunteering at local welfare centers, where large numbers of children with disabilities can be found. Improving the quality of life of the most disadvantaged part of the population has been one of the most rewarding experiences. LIH Olivia’s Place has continuously supported me with his endeavor.


What’s your favorite thing about living in China and working at LIH Olivia’s Place?

The fast pace and ever-changing social and physical landscape in China makes living here a daily adventure. The therapists at LIH Olivia’s Place embrace this attitude and it’s great to be part of a growing and dynamic team. No matter how complex the needs of a child might be, the close-knit team at LIH Olivia’s Place is always able to provide support and share their experience and expertise from different corners of the world.


What would you like to be doing in 5 years’ time?

I still see myself broadening my experience and honing my clinical skills. A very broad range of patient presentations has given me a strong foundation in the field of pediatric physical therapy. I hope to take my skills to the next level to keep up with current research and continuously improving treatment approaches that are emerging.

How Do We Support Welfare Centers in China?

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Authored by Marc Innerhofer, Phsyiotherapist, Beijing

Authored by Marc Innerhofer, Phsyiotherapist, Beijing

There is ample opportunity for therapists working in China to engage in volunteer work. It is a very rewarding experience and sometimes even the main reason why therapists decide to make the move to the Middle Kingdom.

Since starting to work for Olivia’s place I have visited several welfare centers that all had a great need for therapy and support. No two facilities have been the same, each presenting with new and different challenges. Stepping foot into a Chinese welfare center for the first time can be somewhat overwhelming, due to the high concentration of disability and lack of expertise to effectively provide care. I quickly learned to take a step back and address one problem at a time. The challenge is to find a way of providing therapy and ongoing support with the available resources and staff. Therapists are often required to think outside the scope of their profession whilst keeping in mind that not all problems can be solved.

A large part of the work therapists can do in welfare centers is to pass on their expertise and experience to local staff and caretakers, including giving advice on environmental modifications, alternative learning approaches, as well as teaching impairment specific exercises to help the children reach their full potential. However passing on this information can be a challenge in itself. Cultural differences regarding how to support and care for children as well as longstanding habits can sometimes be a barrier toward implementing new strategies and approaches. I learned how important it is to provide teaching and training in a respectful and culturally sensitive way to ensure that the new information will be well-received by the local staff.

A big advantage of working at Olivia’s Place and Eliott’s Corner is having access to a wide array of experience and skill, as well as connections to local specialists and charities. This support network can be a big help when it comes to accessing information regarding specific diagnoses or specialised equipment. One of the first steps towards solving problems encountered in welfare centers is knowing where to go for help. Thanks to this support network I was recently able to help a girl from a welfare center in Luoyang, Henan province get a diagnosis for a rare inherited connective tissue disorder known as Epidermolysis Bullosa (also known as butterfly disease). Despite the poor prognosis for this condition the girl felt empowered, having been shown by specialists how to effectively care for herself. Having access to information and the right equipment, as well as training to use it, can have a big positive impact in a welfare center setting where regular therapeutic input is often limited. More work is needed to streamline access to available equipment and information to help welfare centers improve the quality of care and ultimately maximise the potential of children living there.

Despite the time and effort that is often sacrificed to effectively support the children in Chinese orphanages, the personal development and rewarding experience that therapists receive makes this kind of volunteer work more than worthwhile.