March 10-11, 2015

Youjia Hua
UI special education professor and conference organizer, Youjia Hua presents his research on March 10, 2015.

In this two-day conference, top specialists from China and the U.S. came together to discuss the current status and needs of special education services in China. One of the important outcomes of this conference was to form a partnership with key special education stakeholders in China to expand on existing BCaBA coursework.

Autism spectrum disorders (ASD) are lifelong neurodevelopmental disabilities. Characteristics of the ASD include impairments in social and language-communication accompanied by stereotypical and challenging behaviors. The number of referrals for evaluation of children with ASD has dramatically increased since it was first recognized as a disability in China 1982. The Mental Health Institute of Beijing University reported that more children being referred for suspected ASD than any other mental health issues, and the numbers rose 210% from 1980 to 1999. Researchers estimate that over one million children in China have autism using the prevalence rate of 6 in 1,000 from the United States. 

With the increasing public awareness and knowledge of the disability, there is a large demand for effective interventions for children with ASD in China. One research-based intervention that is effective for children with ASD is applied behavior analysis (ABA). Comprehensive ABA-based education programs focus on teaching socially important behaviors using empirically derived principles of behaviors. The effectiveness of the ABA interventions for children with autism has been well established. However, there is a severe shortage of professionals who can deliver intensive behavioral interventions to children with ASD in China. A 2001 Chinese government survey reported that 90% of the children with autism never received any type of intervention. Results of the survey also indicate that intensive behavioral intervention delivered by professionals certified by Behavior Analyst Certification Board (BACB) was the most requested service by parents of children with ASD. 

In order to address this demand, the UI Department of Teaching and Learning, with assistance from a Strategic Global Initiatives Award, developed a graduate level 12-credit, 4-course sequence that is designed to prepare individuals who speak Chinese to sit for the Board Certified Assistant Behavior Analyst ( BCaBA® ) examination sponsored by the Behavior Analyst Certification Board (BACB®). Through the coursework, learners will gain knowledge and skills to develop, implement, and evaluate evidence-based practice that can help produce positive behavioral changes in children with autism and other disabilities. It is the first BCaBA® course sequence in China. 

At this Global Conference, we will highlight the educational opportunities we can provide for parents and teachers of children with autism in China.

Several departments and programs at the University of Iowa have a strong foundation and reputation in the field of education and treatment of children with autism and will be represented at the conference, including: Department of Teaching and Learning, Center for Developmental Disabilities, and UI REACH. 

This conference is supported by an International Programs Global Conference Award with additional support for the 12-credit course from a Strategic Global Initiatives Award. Conference sponsors include International Programs, College of Education, and Center for Asian & Pacific Studies.

Conference Organizer

Youjia Hua

Youjia Hua is an associate professor of special education in the UI College of Education.

Conference Schedule


9:00 – 9:15

Dean Colangelo’s welcome remarks

9:15 – 9:45

UI BCaBA Course Sequence: China’s First Behavior Analyst Program
Dr. Youjia Hua, Associate Professor of Special Education

10:00 – 10:15

Introduction of College of Special Education at ECNU
Dr. Biao Sang, Dean

10:15 – 11:00

Special Education in China
Dr. Fuyi Yang, Associate Professor and Associate Dean 

11:15 – 12:00

Current State of the Needs and the Intervention of Autism in China. 
Dr. Yanqing Guo, Chairperson of ABAI China Chapter



1:30 – 2:30

Special Education in the US and UI’s Special Education Program
Dr. John Hosp, DEO of Teaching and Learning and Professor of Special Education,

2:45 – 3:30

Future Collaboration
Dr. Youjia Hua, Associate Professor of Special Education