By Matthew Schinelli
What is adapted physical education?
“Adaptive physical education” refers to specially designed instruction based upon specific modifications to traditional instructional cues or curriculum skills.
Simply put, APE implies that the manner and/or material that is taught is provided in a non-traditional method. APE services can be delivered in the general physical education setting or a self-contained one. Regardless of the setting, specific goals and objectives are worked on. These goals and objectives should be established based on a formal assessment by a physical education or APE specialist, not a physical or occupational therapist.
What makes a student eligible for adapted physical education?
This is a critical question, perhaps the most important one to consider. Often children with disabilities are placed in or out of the general physical education setting, and given some or no APE services, without ever being formally assessed. The first step is an accurate and comprehensive assessment. The child’s gross motor, fitness, sport skill, and cognitive strengths and weaknesses as they relate to state core content standards and the local curriculum for physical education. This assessment should be done by a general physical education teacher or an APE specialist. From there, they can recommend any services or the least restrictive placement.
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