Olga Holland was born in the former Soviet Union, where she was trained as an economist. Due to her insistence on exercising her constitutional rights as a Soviet citizen, she was labelled a political dissident, and in 1986 the authorities suggested that she emigrate. She moved to the US, where she married and had two children. Her son, Billy, born in 1993, was diagnosed as autistic when he was four years old. He now attends mainstream school with an aide, and is in a public school class for gifted and talented children.