Chengan Yuan

Farmer (ED) 418D
Assistant Professor
TEMPE Campus


Chengan Yuan is an assistant professor in special education and applied behavior analysis in the Mary Lou Fulton Teachers College. His current research interests focus on improving treatment outcomes of early behavioral intervention for children with autism and related developmental disabilities through examining effective, efficient, and socially valid instructional strategies.

Yuan is also a Board Certified Behavior Analyst and has extensive experience in international practice of behavior analysis. He has worked and conducted research with children to young adults with autism and developmental disabilities in New Zealand, Saudi Arabia, China, and the United States. He continues to collaborate and consult with international colleagues on research and clinical practice. In addition, Yuan taught behavior analysis courses at the University of Waikato, New Zealand. He was also involved in developing and teaching the first online BCaBA course sequence for practitioners in China while he was studying at the University of Iowa.


  • Ph.D. Teaching and Learning (Special Education), University of Iowa 2018
  • M.App.Psy. (1st class hons) Behaviour Analysis, University of Waikato, New Zealand 2009
  • B.Soc.Sci. Psychology, University of Waikato, New Zealand 2006

Research Interests

Guiding Research Questions:

  • How can we respond to student mistakes to maximize skill acquisition?
  • How can we use instructional strategies, such as prompts, to increase varied responses among learners with autism?

Current Research Projects:

Current instructional strategies based on applied behavior analysis have shown to be generally effective in teaching children with autism, but efficiency might vary among the procedures. Yuans current research looks for areas of efficiency in learning environments. With regard to specific instructional strategies to correct mistakes and to increase varied responses among children with autism, he compares efficiency of different effective strategies and assesses learner preferences of these procedures in order to inform clinical practices so that student learning is maximized.

Yuan is also working on an international collaboration with centers that provide behavioral services to children with autism in China. He works with teachers in these centers through teleconsultation in order to provide specific suggestions and feedback relating to intervention strategies for individual students at the centers.



Spring 2019
Course NumberCourse Title
SPE 598Special Topics
Fall 2018
Course NumberCourse Title
SPE 567Ethics Applied Behav Analysis