Magazine article The Exceptional Parent

Let's Get Physical

Magazine article The Exceptional Parent

Let's Get Physical

Article excerpt

Adapted Physical Education

Adapted physical education is federally mandated according to special education law. The law states: " ... physical education, specially designed if necessary, must be made available to every student with a disability receiving a free appropriate public education." Adapted physical education services should be a part of the Individual Education Plan (IEP) of every student who is eligible. All states and public schools must comply with this federal law.

According to the National Consortium for Physical Education and Recreation for Individuals with Disabilities (NCPERID), "Qualified teachers with appropriate state-approval, certification, license, or credential in adapted physical education should plan, implement, and evaluate physical education instruction for students with disabilities. Many states have specific qualifications or standards for adapted physical education teachers. In states without established adapted physical education professional standards, qualified personnel should implement adapted physical education. National standards for adapted physical education teachers have recently been developed through a project of NCPERID sponsored by the U.S. Department of Education-Special Education Programs. National Certification in adapted Physical Education is now available to qualified physical education teachers through NCPERID."

In the following articles, three teachers of adapted physical education share their approaches to serving children and adolescents with special needs. These individuals are working within their school districts to ensure that adapted physical education is available to those students who are entitled to it.--the Editors

Learning Movement Through Play

Physical activity is critical to the health and well-being of every individual, and it is even more important for children with disabilities. Adapted physical education (PE) can help children master the skills they will need for daily living, such as walking, running, stair climbing, transferring, and wheelchair mobility. In addition, adapted PE programs help children develop skills for participation in recreational and sport activities within their communities, preparing them for a lifetime of positive, playful activities.

The interactive nature of any PE program helps to develop a child's social and communicative skills, as well as self-esteem. In addition, PE can improve respiration and circulation and thereby reduce the incidence of upper-respiratory infections and digestive problems.

My experience as an adapted PE teacher included a child named Sarah, who had a form of muscular dystrophy. When she was born, Sarah's parents were told that she would not live very long. Sarah, however, grew up and entered elementary school. I started working with Sarah when she was in the 4th grade and using a power wheelchair. During her twice-weekly adapted PE classes, Sarah and I played various games designed to maintain her upper-body strength and increase her respiration. Some of these games included balloon volleyball and Ping-Pong hockey (where a Ping-Pong ball is moved toward the opponent's goal by blowing air at it through a straw). In addition to these individual activities, Sarah also participated in regular PE classes with her peers. During these classes, I collaborated with the regular PE teacher to make necessary rule modifications or variations for Sarah. I continued to work with Sarah throughout high school on her range of motion, strength, and aerobic capacity.

Sarah later went on to compete in the regional cerebral palsy track and field games. I thought this would be a positive challenge for Sarah (although she did not have cerebral palsy, these games are open to people with many different types of disabilities). Sarah did outstanding in the regional games and qualified to go to the National Les Autres games in Texas.

Sarah's participation in adapted PE assisted with not only her physical development but also with the social and emotional development, as well as her self-esteem. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed


An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.