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Adapted Physical Education Q&A

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Questions

  1. What is adapted physical education?
  2. What is the goal of adapted physical education?
  3. What makes a child eligible for adapted physical education?
  4. What are the qualifications for an adapted physical education teacher?
  5. What is the role of the adapted physical education teacher?
  6. Should all students with disabilities receive adapted physical education
    services?
  7. If the IEP team determines that a child with an orthopedic impairment or other health impairment requires only adapted physical education as special instruction, may the child receive occupational and physical therapy?
  8. Where is the provision of adapted PE shown on the IEP?

Questions and Answers

1. What is adapted physical education?

Adapted physical education is specially designed instruction provided to students who are unable to participate in a regular physical education class, even with modifications, accommodations or supplementary aids and services. Adapted P.E. includes special P.E., adapted P.E., movement education, and motor development. It is considered a special education service.

2. What is the goal of adapted physical education?

The primary goal of adapted physical education should be to ensure that the child is provided with physical education services that meet his/her unique needs. A consideration of the IEP team when determining if the child needs an adapted program would be the safety of the student. Another consideration would be the development of the student’s motor skills. Adapted physical education programs strive to ensure that each student actively participates in physical education programs at his or her own level and that the student is integrated into the regular education program whenever possible. Other goals might include assisting students to develop self-esteem, further socialization skills, and promote sportsmanship.

3. What makes a child eligible for adapted physical education?

The IEP team determines whether a student requires adapted physical education or is able to participate in regular physical education. Federal Regulations under IDEA (300.108) states: “Physical education services, specially designed if necessary, must be made available to every child with a disability receiving FAPE, unless the public agency enrolls children without disabilities and does not provide physical education to children without disabilities in the same grades. Each child with a disability must be afforded the opportunity to participate in the regular physical education program available to nondisabled children unless: (1) the child is enrolled full time in a separate facility; or (2) the child needs specially designed physical education, as prescribed in the child’s IEP.” When developing an IEP, regular PE would be the first consideration. If necessary, the team would next consider regular PE with accommodations or modifications to the curriculum and/or performance expectations. If these two models are not appropriate, the team may determine that adapted PE services are necessary in the child’s IEP to assist the student in a parallel physical education curriculum. Adapted physical education is not a related service. Related services, such as OT and PT cannot be considered a substitute for physical education.

4. What are the qualifications for an adapted physical education teacher?

The adapted PE service may be provided by a physical education teacher or a special education teacher. This is one circumstance in which it is not necessary that the specialized instruction be provided by a teacher certificated in special education.

5. What is the role of the adapted physical education teacher?

The individual providing the adapted physical education should collaborate with the occupational therapist, the physical therapist, the special education teacher and/or the physical education teacher to meet the child’s needs related to:

health and safety, including specific medical needs.

modifications of equipment or the environment.

specific sensorimotor programming.

specific play or leisure needs.

activities of daily living related to physical education such as dressing, showering or toileting.

positioning during exercises and games.

access to the general curriculum. 

6. Should all students with disabilities receive adapted physical education
services?

No. Many children do quite well in regular physical education with or without modifications/accommodations or support help, and they benefit from being with their non-disabled peers.

7. If the IEP team determines that a child with an orthopedic impairment or other health impairment requires only adapted physical education as special instruction, may the child receive occupational and physical therapy?

Yes. Adapted physical education is considered special education. If the IEP team determines the student requires OT and/or PT to benefit from adapted physical education, then the child may receive the related service of OT or PT. Therapy must relate to the goals and objectives in the child’s IEP.

8. Where is the provision of adapted PE shown on the IEP?

It is shown as a special education service in the services summary section.