The 10-year-old from Jiaba village in Yibin, central China's Sichuan Province, suffered from a serious fever when he was just one. His family couldn't afford medical treatment, and when he recovered his lower body was left partially paralysed.
He learnt to 'walk' on his two hands when he was four years old, and he makes the daily round trip of three hours to attend school on his palms.
His sister carries his bag and sometimes his grandmother carries him to school on her back to save his hands.
Yan can also move around using crutches but says that walking on his hands 'is faster and more time-saving'. The brave boy says his school classes are his happiest time as when he is sitting down his disability doesn't matter.
"I don't want to quit school," says Yan. "I want to study hard and support myself in the future."