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Adapted Physical Education

Adapted Physical Education is specially designed instruction in physical education which may be adapted or modified to address the individuals’ needs of student’s gross motor developmental delays. Adaptations are made to ensure that each student will experience success in a safe environment.

Defining Adapted Physical Education

Adapted physical education is a primary service -- not a related service -- because physical education is defined in the definition of special education.

Special education means specially designed instruction at no cost to parents, to meet the unique needs of a child with a disability including instruction conducted in the classroom in the home, in hospitals and institutions and in other settings and instructions in physical education.

Physical Education is defined in the Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act as:

  • Physical and motor fitness
  • Fundamental motor skills and patterns
  • Health related physical fitness
  • Skills in aquatics, dance and individual and group games and sports (including intramurals and lifetime sports)
  • Includes special physical education, adapted physical education, movement education and motor development.

Based on the needs of the student with disabilities, a continuum of physical education placement services are provided ranging in delivery from a general physical education class to a specially designed adapted physical education class. A child with a disability must have the opportunity to participate in regular physical education class unless the IEP team determines that the student needs a specially designed physical education program.

What does the Adapted Physical Education teacher do?

  • Provide formal assessments of a child’s gross motor abilities, fitness abilities and recreation leisure abilities.

  • Observe students in general physical education classes to gather information for intervention
  • Consult with regular physical educator on how to make adaptations and modifications.
  • Make recommendations for appropriate physical education program for students.
  • Consult with parents, teachers, and other professionals regarding the gross motor, fitness and recreations leisure skills and resources.
  • Develop appropriate goals and objectives necessary to meet the needs of each child.
  • Collaborate with other professionals on the child's team to implement recommendations in the school setting.
  • Help parents and students access the community recreation programs.
  • Provide direct services to students who need an individualized physical education program.
  • Train paraprofessional to work with students in the physical education setting.