Adapted Physical Education is the art and science of developing, implementing, and monitoring a carefully designed physical education instructional program for a learner with a disability, based on a comprehensive assessment, to give the learner the skills necessary for a lifetime of rich leisure, recreation, and sport experiences to enhance physical fitness and wellness.” (Auxter, Pyfer, & Huettig, 2001)
Adapted Physical Education Service Provision
The APE teacher is a direct service provider, not a related service provider, because physical education is a federally mandated component of special education services. (U.S.C.A. 1402). This means that physical education needs to be provided to the student with a disability as part of the child's special education. This is contrasted with physical therapy and occupational therapy, which are related services.
As a direct service, Adapted Physical Education is provided to students who have needs that cannot be appropriately addressed in the regular physical education program. In addition to APE, other service delivery options include APE collaboration and APE consultation, specially designed physical education, modified physical education, and general physical education.
Provision of APE is based on the same process of referral, assessment, and individual program planning that other special education services follow. An assessment and evaluation of motor skills performance is considered by the IEP team in determining how specialized physical education is to be delivered.
Federal law guarantees the opportunity for students to participate in physical education regardless of physical, cognitive, or emotional abilities. Finding the least restrictive environment (LRE) for each learner is both a federal mandate and a best practice. The environment is considered to be least restrictive when it matches individual abilities and appropriate services and provides students with as much independence as possible.
Responsibilities of the Adapted Physical Education Teacher
- Completing comprehensive motor assessments of individuals with disabilities and making specific program recommendations
- Providing direct services to students who are eligible and in need of APE
- Consult with physical education staff providing physical education instruction for individuals with disabilities
- Consult with other IEP team members about student need in the area of APE
- Serve as an IEP member at IEP meetings
- Monitor student progress
- Advocate for the student and parent