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Adapted physical education is a sub-discipline of physical education. It is an individualized program created for students who require a specially designed program for more than 30 days. The program involves physical fitness, motor fitness, fundamental motor skills and patterns, aquatics skills, dance skills, individual, group games and sports. For people with disabilities, adapted physical education provides safe, personally satisfying, and successful experiences related to physical activity, rather than a sedentary alternative program.

Students who receive services Edit

Students who qualify for adapted physical education include people with disabilities as specified in the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). This includes children who have mental retardation, deafness or other hearing impairment, speech or language impairment, blindness or other impairment, serious emotional disturbance, orthopedic impairment, autism, traumatic brain injury, a learning disability, multiple disabilities or other health impairments that require special education or related services.

Infants and toddlers who need early intervention services because of developmental delays in cognitive, physical, communication, social, emotional or adaptive development can also qualify for adapted physical education. The state can chose to include infants and toddlers who are under three-years old who are “at risk” for experiencing a developmental delay if early intervention services are not provided.

Students who qualify under section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 can also receive adapted physical education. In section 504, a person with a disability is anyone who has a physical or mental impairment that limits one or more major life activities, has a record of impairment, or is regarded as having an impairment.

A fourth group of students who might qualify for adapted physical education are students who are recuperating from injuries, accidents, recovering from noncommunicable diseases, are overweight, have low skills levels, or have low levels of physical fitness. This group is not covered by legislation, but a school district can decide to develop a plan to meet these students’ physical education needs.

Adapted physical education only serves people from the ages of 0 to 21.

Adaptations Edit

Equipment such as standing frames and other assistive technology can make the envioronment more inclusive for children who use a wheelchair for mobility.

For throwing and catching balls it will be helpful to use a variety of balls. These include yarn balls that do not bounce away and are easy to catch because students can grab onto the yarn. Wiffle balls are recommended because they are lightweight. Beach balls are useful because they are large and soft to catch. For students with visual impairments, use multicolored balls and balls with bells in them that make sound as they roll.

For kicking a variety of balls can also be used to benefit the students. For students in wheelchairs, large balls bigger than soccer balls will be helpful. For students with cerebral palsy, a stationary ball can be used.

References Edit

  • Winnick, Joseph, P. (2005). Adapted Physical Education and Sport, Fourth Edition. Champaign, IL: Human Kinetics.


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