Department of Education Releases Policy Clarifications on Physical Education and Extracurricular Athletics for Students with Disabilities

Article excerpt

In June 2010, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) reported that even with the legal obligation to provide physical education and extracurricular athletics to students with disabilities, there are still limited opportunities available. The new policy will encourage the Secretary of Education to facilitate information sharing from state to state on ways to provide opportunities in physical education and extracurricular athletics.

Garth Tymeson, Legislative Committee Co-Chair of the National Consortium on Physical Education and Recreation for Individuals with Disabilities (NCPERID.org), stated "this report provides much needed clarification for parents, teachers, and school administrators regarding the often confused physical education requirement for all students with disabilities that has longstanding roots in the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). This recognizes the importance of physical education tbr the lifelong health of all students with disabilities" (Press release NCPERID, 2011).

The report has several key highlights that will have major positive impacts on children and youth with disabilities. One highlight from the report identifies that "states and schools are required to provide equal opportunity to participate in physical education and extracurricular athletics by children and youth with and without disabilities" (Press release NCPERID, 2011). …