Zhang Liyuan is helping every child in the care of their business, Autism Step, to reach their full potential.
What’s your story?
My initial reason for majoring in psychology was simply because it seemed interesting. However, it was during this time in my life when I was first exposed to theories depicting the importance of parental influence in an individual’s development. Not only did I feel that I could deeply relate to what was being taught, it also made me realise the importance of early intervention in a child’s life. Hence, I decided to specialize in early intervention and even as an undergraduate, I found myself drawn to working with children with autism. Time has flown by and it’s been 10 years since I began working with children with autism. Although I’ve learned a lot, I look forward to growing even more as I embrace the challenges that this line of work brings.
What excites you most about your industry?
Working with children with special needs is a draining job. One simply cannot remain in this line for long without having a passion for children and most importantly, helping them. Seeing the children under my care improve, learn to communicate and socialize means the world to me.
What’s your connection to Asia?
Well, as a Singaporean, being Asian runs in my blood. As an entrepreneur, we’re based mainly in Singapore even as we work with children from a variety of nationalities. And last but not least, as a therapist, the experiences that I’ve had while growing up in Singapore help me to understand the advantages and challenges that are faced by the young people under my care.
Favourite city in Asia for business and why?
Singapore. A strong government which provides a stable political, social and economic environment for businesses to operate and thrive. Furthermore, low tax rates and the presence of many supportive schemes for businesses all lead to a balance of vibrancy and stability that makes Singapore, in my opinion, an appealing city for entrepreneurs.
What’s the best piece of advice you ever received?
“If I have only five minutes and there is only one piece of advice that I can give you, it would be goal-setting.”
Who inspires you?
My elder brother. He has always been mature, capable and fair. Even from a very young age, I’ve always aspired to be like him.
What have you just learnt recently that blew you away?
You fail the moment you give up. No one can say that you have failed if you continue trying.
If you had your time again, what would you do differently?
Nothing. I believe that we are the sum of our experiences. I treasure every experience I’ve had as each experience has helped me to become who I am today.
How do you unwind?
As I prefer listening to, reading and spending a considerable amount of time each day on the road, listening to audiobooks is something I often do. It helps me to keep learning and at the same time, unwind.
Favourite Asian destination for relaxation? Why?
Taiwan. The people are friendly and courteous and I’m familiar with the language spoken and the food is amazing.
Everyone in business should read this book:
As mentioned above, I prefer listening to books rather than reading. I listen to Brian Tracy all the time. One of which is “No Excuses! The Power of Self- Discipline.”
Shameless plug for your business:
We have seen improvement in 100% of the children with autism that we work with, a statistic that I’m especially proud of as it shows our dedication towards helping the children in our care. We’ve been awarded Best in Early Intervention Program for Children with Autism. We have full confidence in our therapists and customised programs, which have already helped hundreds of parents see the much-desired improvements in their child. We help every child entrusted to us to achieve their maximum potential.
This interview was part of the Callum Connect’s column found on The Asian Entrepreneur:
Callum Laing invests and buys small businesses in a range of industries around Asia. He has previously started, built and sold half a dozen businesses and is the founder & owner of Fitness-Buffet a company delivering employee wellness solutions in 12 countries. He is a Director of, amongst others, Key Person of Influence. A 40 week training program for business owners and executives.
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